Nella and Caroline lived centuries apart, but when Caroline discovers a small bottle on the bed of the River Thames she starts to unravel the darkest secrets of Nella's apothecary shop and the lengths she went to for protecting women in need.
I cannot thank Legend Press and Sarah Penner enough for sending me a finished hardback of this new publication. It has quickly become my favourite read not only of the year but possibly ever. I am part of the blog tour for this wonderful publication, and if you want to check out any other reviews please see my fellow participants below!
I've always found it difficult to write a review of a book I absolutely loved, it's hard to find the words as to why I loved this so much but I'll give it my best shot! The immediate thoughts that raced through my mind was that both Nella and Caroline were beautifully written, they had different tones, but Penner still connected them through strong and powerful attitudes that mirrored each other to create two perfect protagonists. Introducing narrative from Eliza just furthered the high level of characterisation Penner achieved. All three main characters were just the perfect representation of female friendships and self worth, I connected to each one, as well as their hopes, dreams and heartache and that's down to Penner's incredible writing.
When I heard about this novel a few months ago I had just listened to an episode of My Favorite Murder where they covered the 'Angel Makers of Nagyrév' and the plot of this novel sounded so similar that I couldn't wait to read it. Whilst the novel and the events of 1914-1929 are not connected, I was so enamoured by Penner's creation of this world within London that I just couldn't stop thinking about it. 'The Lost Apothecary' combines historical fiction and an atmosphere of mystery as present day Caroline investigates who the 'Apothecary Killer' was from 1791, and this ended up being the perfect combination.
Narratives that switch between historical periods and present day are not unfamiliar to the book community, but I've never seen it executed so well. Clear connections are made between Caroline and Nella's experiences, the threads link up and the revelations are perfectly timed. Penner uses wonderful snippets of tension building in the past and a slow-burn reveal with Caroline in the present to create a novel that has a perfect balance of pace.
I couldn't fault anything about this, I was always trying to read that extra chapter before bed or squeeze in a few pages before work. The final pages left me emotional in the best of ways and even now as I write this, three days after finishing it, I still cannot get that ending out of my mind. Thank you Sarah Penner!