The Apothecary’s Tale
When betrayed by men they trusted, women long ago had fewer options than today. In Sarah Penner’s bestseller The Lost Apothecary (2021), three female narrators take control of their lives in suspense-filled narratives that weave into one.
Nella, a London apothecary in 1791, sells exclusively to women to resolve such ailments as menstrual cramps or unfaithful husbands. Twelve-year-old servant Eliza, who visits the shop for poison on behalf of her mistress, pleads in vain to become Nella’s protégé. Caroline, a present-day American vacationing alone in London after learning of her husband’s infidelity, finds an old vial in the mud. Following clues that lead her gradually to Nella and Eliza (and, at one point, almost to prison), Caroline rediscovers her passion for history, abandoned in the mud of her role as supportive wife.
Constant surprises in both the apothecary’s tale and Caroline’s detective work kept me turning pages from the day this book appeared under the Christmas tree. Friendships among the complex characters reveal strength and resilience. It’s a perfect read for a lover of historical fiction, mystery, or both.
What are you reading these days?
1/10/2022 09:51:46 am
this book looks wonderful. we will get it.
1/10/2022 12:17:17 pm
I read The Weight of Ink a few years back and loved it! I'd forgotten about it more recently and am delighted to have the reminder! As you say, totally up my alley. Glad you liked it too.
1/11/2022 11:22:32 am
A couple that are on my list:
1/13/2022 06:26:57 am
They're both on my list now. Thanks!
1/18/2022 11:12:28 am
Rebecca, thanks for the tip. I missed it till now because that was the day I flew west to visit my son.
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.