Book Reviews

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

1791: A secret female apothecary in the Back Alley of London has one goal: to liberate women from the harmful men who’ve wronged them. Nella, the knowledge apothecary owner fatefully meets Eliza, her latest patron. 

Present-day London: Caroline ventures to London on what is supposed to be her tenth wedding anniversary, but the trip is derailed when she discovers her husband’s infidelity. When exploring the shores of the river Thames, she discovers a vial and can’t help but investigate. She begins pulling at the thread of the lost apothecary; once she starts digging she can’t stop.


When I read the description for this book, I was immediately attracted to it. It sort of reminded me of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, (a book I loved, check out my review here) not because the stories were similar, but the fact that this story spans centuries. Typically, I’m not a huge historical fiction fan but this book had me hooked from the start and I didn’t want to put it down. 

Like I said, the book was able to pull me in quickly. I was very intrigued and appreciated the progression of this story. However, about three-quarters of the way through it slowed down for me, unfortunately. I’m not going to share any spoilers but I just had some feelings about the ending. It felt like some unnecessary details were included, and necessary details were eluded to but not explained completely. It wasn’t an unsatisfying ending, but I just wish the author hadn’t been hesitant to include a bit more detail.

This is Sarah Penner’s first book and I thought it was marvelously written; so creative and intriguing. The multiple perspectives is easily my favorite aspect of this book; it just would not have been the same without each point of view. I was attached to each of the three narrators.

Overall? Though I complained about the ending, I think this is a well written book and I enjoyed reading it. If you’re looking for an intriguing historical fiction, pick up The Lost Apothecary.

PUBLICATION DETAILS: Park Row; March 2nd, 2021; 9780778311010; Fiction/Historical