The Lost Apothecary: A Novel - book cover
  • Publisher : Park Row; First Time Trade edition
  • Published : 22 Feb 2022
  • Pages : 352
  • ISBN-10 : 077831197X
  • ISBN-13 : 9780778311973
  • Language : English

The Lost Apothecary: A Novel


Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Hello! magazine,, Bustle, Popsugar, Betches, Sweet July, and GoodReads!

March 2021 Indie Next Pick and #1 LibraryReads Pick

"A bold, edgy, accomplished debut!" -Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

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.

Editorial Reviews

"The Lost Apothecary is a poisonously good read... An enthralling work of mystery, murder, trust, and betrayal. Set in an atmospheric London, Penner's immersive story flows skillfully from past to present, revealing the heartaches and lost dreams of three captivating main characters in a page-turningly tense drama that surprises right up until the final paragraph." -NPR

"You will not be able to put it down." -theSkimm

"A juicy spring read." -Katie Couric, Wake-Up Call

"An impressively original, deftly crafted and fully entertaining novel from cover to cover, The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner fairly crackles with compelling suspense, features truly memorable characters, and a series of cliffhanger style plot twists and turns." -Midwest Book Review

"Engrossing, with rich detail, assured pacing and effective suspense." -Tampa Bay Times

"Spellbinding… Like in a well-brewed potion, all the ingredients have been given exactly the right level of care and time, and the result is a novel that simply overwhelms with its delicate spell." -Bookpage

"Enthralling… Musical prose… A completely absorbing story of the power of secrets and finding one's way." -Historical Novel Review, A Best Book of the Month Pick

"In The Lost Apothecary, Sarah Penner convincingly weaves three heroines and two timelines into one tale of poison, revenge, and the silent network of women helping other women in a world stacked against them…. A bold, edgy, accomplished debut!" -Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress

"Dark, clever, and wickedly fun, The Lost Apothecary is a true page-turner. Sarah Penner has given us a puzzle box of women's lives, betrayal, power, and history. It's a book that slyly asks what any of us deserve and if, sometimes, that might not be a little poison." -Erika Swyler, bestselling author of The Book of Speculation

"Filled with fascinating historical detail... With gathering intensity, author Sarah Penner builds toward a heart-pounding, satisfying conclusion. A skilled, captivating debut that celebrates the strength of women across the centuries." -Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names

"Penner's debut had me completely under its spell. The women of The Lost Apothecary, separated by centuries, seek both revenge and truth in this powerful story. Riveting and utterly or...

Readers Top Reviews

Juliemr1000Mrs. R. L
This was a really well thought out, pacey story. I enjoyed the parallel stories which drew you in and kept you turning the pages. The only thing that let this book down really badly was the anachronistic language and syntax which was so jarring to me, a British reader, that it ruined the flow of the story. No 18c English noblewoman would use the phrase ‘if she had any smarts’ and the words ‘ok’ and ‘gender’ were not in use then. Neither was the phrase ‘is all’ at the end of a sentence. This also happened with Gaynor’s dialogue, British people don’t say ‘sneakers’ or ‘orient’. It’s just really bad and lazy editing and almost ruined an otherwise enjoyable read.
Maria del Pilar
Enjoyed this beautifully penned novel by Sarah Penner. The past meets present as she weaves a story of 2 women one in present time and one in the past . 2 women grieving and betrayed trying to break from the molds created by themselves others and living their lives to please others .
Dr. Leanna Floyd
The Lost Apothecary is an innovative and magical story that seamlessly transports readers through different timelines taking them into a world of unforgettable characters. The characters’ secrets are deadly, and readers will have to uncover the clues along the way as they navigate the treacherous waters of love, deceit, self-discovery, and the ultimate payback making this a page-turning novel they won’t be able to put down. The author’s ability to paint realistic scenes through words transports readers into a world filled with sights and sounds unique to London creating an unforgettable experience that sucks readers deep into the story that not only stimulates readers' minds, but also their senses. I loved the theme of finding oneself and following one’s heart even when that requires one to let go of people, places, and things one puts above oneself. This story encourages individuals on a deeper level not to be afraid to pursue their hearts' desires and not to let negative circumstances define them or hold them back from their dreams. Overall, this is an outstanding one-of-a-kind, spine-tingling novel that will leave readers' minds spinning for days.
Pirate Patty Reviews
It's a cold night in February of 1791 and in an unmarked back alley in London, Nella sits awaiting her customer. Nella is an apothecary, as her mother before her was. Women came from all around for her healing potions and salves. Taking care of women. Nella is carrying on the tradition in another way. Women come to her for poisons that will release them from the men who have done them wrong. Of course, there are a few rules. The poison must never be used to harm another woman. And the names of the victim, poison, and the killer are to be recorded in a register. When her next customer shows up Nella is shocked it is a twelve-year-old girl named Eliza, whose employer wishes to engage Nella's services to relieve herself of her husband. Little does Nella know that this meeting will alter both of their lives as well as the life of present-day historian Caroline, who is spending her anniversary alone after her husband has an affair. When she finds a mysterious vial with a bear on it, her research instincts kick in and she is determined to find out everything she can about the apothecary shop, Nella and Eliza. Women had very few options in this London. One had to put up with whatever situation one found themselves as far as philandering spouses or abusive ones. This was a great look at the lengths women would go to seek revenge.  This was disturbing and yet honest. A very good debut! NetGalley/  March 2nd, 2021 by Park Row
Ben MartinSharon McD
Penned tells her story through three first-person accounts. Two of the women live in the end of the 18th century, while the modern narrator lives in 2021. We also meet a husband and a librarian. One problem is that all the characters speak alike. Even more problematical is that nothing they say seems to come from a real person. The book reads like a second-rate romance paperback that you find on s drugstore shelf. This is a first novel. Let's hope that Penned acquires more skill in her future work. This one is a total disappointment.

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