Review of “The Lost Apothecary” by Sarah Penner

 4.5 /5 Stars

Summary of review: 

I loved this book! It is a little slow at the beginning. But I loved everything about it.


The story is told in two POVs.

1791: A apothecary (Nella) who secretly poisons men to help women who have been wronged by them.  Nella has a lot of secrets of her own about her past as well. She meet a young girl who becomes her apprentice. She starts to teach her like her mother taught Nella. One small mistake though in the apothecary, leads to a chain of events.

Present day: Caroline who just left her cheating husband. She leaves for London to re-think her marriage. One day, she discovers a bottle in the mud. She begins to look for the origins of this bottle and starts an investigation into murders that occurred in the 1700s.

My thoughts:

What a unique plot! Half way through the book, I could not put it down.

The characters were just great. The book is written in alternating narratives. I really enjoyed reading about both POVs. The characters were also complex. The characters are similar, but the stories were completely different. It was like two books in one. I loved how Caroline was researching Nella’s story. We got pieces of her story not only told by Nella but also through Caroline.

The story is narrated in dual timelines – Caroline in present day and Nella in 1791. The past and the present intertwined perfectly. I have a hard time with some novels try so hard to intertwine two stories, but this was done great!

I am very critical on historical fiction. I like the novels not to “mansplain” everything. This book does a wonderful job at not doing that at all.


I enjoyed this book a lot – from the pretty cover, intriguing plot, complex characters, the mystery and suspense – this book has it all! I highly recommend this book.

Trigger warning: Molestation (vague), adultery

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