ARC AUDIO BOOK: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Format: Audio
Genre:  Historical Women's Fiction
Narrator: Lorna Bennett, Lauren Anthony, Lauren Irwin

Publisher: Harper Audio         
10 hours 18 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


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.


I received this book from the publisher, Harper Audio through in exchange for an honest review.

Told in two different time periods this book was fascinating.  In 18th century London Nella runs the apothecary shop that her mother started to help women with whatever ails them.  Whether that was help with birth control tinctures, or how to get rid of a pregnancy or just how to cure illness in themselves or their children.  When she is duped by a man she loved she changes her focus and starts dispensing poisons to use against the oppressive men in women's lives.  Now she is old and sick and has a premonition that something dangerous is coming.  This is when she meets a precocious 12 year old on a mission from her mistress.  

In the present Caroline Parcewell is in London without her husband, spending her 10th anniversary alone after she discovers her husband has been unfaithful.  With time on her hands she goes mudlarking and discovers a small bottle in the Thames.  Investigating where it may have come from leads her to rekindle her passion for research and her long aspired passion for history.  When her husband makes an unwelcome and undesired trip to London in the hopes of winning Caroline back, Caroline is in despair.  She wanted space. 

Now really taking a hard look at her life and her choices she sees where she gave over her power to her husband and while he says he hasn't been happy she realizes that neither has she.  Now the question is what is she going to do about it. 

This book focuses on empowering women.  For too long have manipulated and gotten away with what they want with little regard to the women in their lives.  In the 18th century the little apothecary gave women hope, and sometimes freedom.  In the present we have more choices but often fall victim to a culture that expects us to fall in line.  When Caroline is finally faced with what she had given up she realizes she had given away her power and now she wants it back.  Its about how we can be manipulated and guided into believing things are in our own best interest against what we believe inside.  I loved this book and these characters.  I was shocked at a twist here and there and loved how it all pulled together in the end. 

Click on the 3 lines at the top of the blog to view my sidebar where you can follow me on facebook, bloglovin, and amazon