Book Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

February 17, 2022


The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner is a novel which follows three women, centuries apart, who are joined by history and mystery. Ms. Penner is a full-time writer and traveler.

  • 320 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Park Row Books
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 0778311015

Book Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah PennerMy rat­ing for Beyond Grapes3
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I have heard a lot about The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, and finally got a chance to read it. To be honest, I almost put it down after the first chapter. Caroline was annoying, especially the way she was dealing with her marriage on the verge of destruction. I hated Eat, Pray, Love and hoped this wouldn’t be in the same vein.

Luckily, Eliza and Nella, from the 1800s were interesting and compelling. This is despite, not because, their goal of poisoning men. There isn’t much of a mystery in this book, as the reader is an omnipotent observer who sees all.

The author did an excellent job pulling off the dual timeline. I was surprise to learn that this is her first book, as I read other book by seasoned authors who did not manage such a feat.

I felt as this was a YA type of book, I have no clue if it was marketed that way, but that’s the way it seemed to me. Nothing against the genre, a good story is a good story, by the way, just my impression.

I understand that this is a book targeting a female audience, but I think it does a disservice to the intelligent readers among them. The main problem is Caroline, every single problem she has is blamed on her husband. It could be just her state of mind, but she takes absolutely no responsibility for very important decisions, concerning her, that she either let him make or mildly accepted his ruling.

Then she found a vial which turned around her life?

I also didn’t recognize any magic, magical realism as was advertised. And the ending made no sense to me at all.


Caroline Parcewell is in London sans husband. Their tenth anniversary has been marred by his cheating. Caroline, an amateur historian, finds an apothecary vial near the Thames and starts investigating its origins.

In the same area, 1791, Nella uses her knowledge of herbs to help abused and wronged women murder the abusive men in their lives. When 12-year-old Eliza Fanning comes to her shop, an unexpected friendship/mentor is emerging. This friendship, however, will soon threaten Nella’s secret business, and Nella’s world.

Buy The Lost Apothecary from*
More Books by Sarah Penner*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I bought this book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

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