The Lost Apothecary – Book Review

The Lost Apothecary: A Novel by [Sarah Penner]

Title:- The Lost Apothecary

Author:- Sarah Penner

Date Published:- March 2nd 2021

No. of pages:- 319 pages

Genre:- Historical Fiction/Thriller/Womens Fiction


A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Content Warning:- Murder, Poisoning

I have heard so many raving reviews on this book and got so excited when it was available in Scribid. And truth to be told, I was a bit skeptical about this book, as I am not really a fan of books based on Eighteenth-century historical fiction.

But, to my own utmost surprise–I actually enjoyed reading this book.

The story divides between the present day–told on the perspective of an American woman named Caroline, who comes to London on her own on what happened to be her anniversary trip with her husband, and the past, told from the perspectives of two women–Nellie who makes secret poisons and potions for the elite women to poison their spouses and Eliza, a twelve year old working for a family who comes to Nellie’s shop to buy a poison for her mistress to kill her husband. The connection? Well Caroline comes across an empty bottle with the word Bear Alley which is connected to unsolved murder cases two hundred years ago. And Nellie was the creator.

Truth to be told, Caroline’s part was slightly boring but then it got intriguing and interesting in the middle. What drew me into the story is actually Nellie’s and Eliza’s story–reading their stories, pulled me into the lives of them in the eighteenth century and I felt like I was living in the eighteenth century. The writing was really great, the author doing a good job of drawing the reader into the story. What makes it most interesting is the thrill that develops by the middle of the story when Nellie was asked and threatened to make poison for someone that she wouldn’t dream of doing–poisoning a lady when in fact she was actually poisoning the men. I also like the companionship between Eliza and Nellie and I really was saddened at the death of Eliza in the end (I actually began to like her character).

I like however, how the ending turned out for Caroline.

I really, enjoyed reading this book and for those who haven’t read this book yet, I hugely recommend you to read it–worth five stars!

Sarah Penner is the New York Times bestselling author of THE LOST APOTHECARY (Park Row Books/HarperCollins), available now wherever books are sold. THE LOST APOTHECARY will be translated into two dozen languages worldwide. Sarah and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida with their miniature dachshund, Zoe. To learn more, visit

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