BOOK REVIEW   The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner


This book is a treasure for anyone who loves a story of two distinct timelines that relate in more ways than one.

Author, Sarah Penner, leads her reader to a mysterious London Apothecary owned by Nella over two hundred years ago. Remedies are doled out for a host of ailments to aid the sick and injured. Over time, that aid is extended way beyond the original intent of Nella’s mother, the original owner of the apothecary. The little store evolves into a secret dispensary for poisons siphoned to a select group of women. Twelve-year-old Eliza Fanning struts into Nella’s store and becomes much more than a customer’s maid. Simply following orders, Eliza steps right into Nella’s world as an accomplice to murder.

Caroline Parcewell arrives in London on her anniversary without her husband, thanks to his recent roaming. While working through her feelings on the matter, she extracts an ancient apothecary vile from the River Thames. The discovery lights a fire in her deeply buried zeal for historical research. Each step toward uncovering the apothecary mysteries of the past fuels her ambition and interest in her own unmet potential.

This debut novel is a captivating page turner with a unique storyline blending history and present day strife into a fascinating adventure. I have heard Ms. Penner speak (via Zoom of course) and found her to be knowledgeable and generous with her support for other writers. This novel is one of my new favorites. If you enjoy a multi-faceted plot with characters who challenge the status quo, you will savor this tale.

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