The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner, is a book set in both 1791 and the current day. The author has written the book from three perspectives; Nella, Eliza and Caroline.
Nella is the owner of an apothecary for women in the 1700s, which holds many dark secrets. Eliza, a customer of the apothecary, is only 12 and believes that a spirit is haunting her. In the present day, Caroline is visiting London from America and trying to escape her marital issues. She finds a vial by the Thames that captures her interest, and she sets about discovering its history. Centuries apart from each other, the characters lives intertwine.
After a shaky start (as I didn’t enjoy Caroline’s first couple of chapters), I found the book to be a real page-turner. The chapters are short and alternate between the characters and eras, which makes an easy and enjoyable read. I particularly liked Nella’s and Eliza’s chapters and warmed to these characters the most. The overall storyline was clever and not like any other story I’ve read. I also appreciated the author choosing to include the subject of women’s health.
I have read many reviews stating that the language used throughout the book did not accurately reflect the time periods or region. There have also been comments regarding the incorrect description of locations within London. Having been to London only a handful of times, I cannot confirm. However, I do not think such discrepancies should take anything away from the book. After all, it is a fictional story.
I would say that this is a book written for women, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read something a little dark and different.