The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Rating: 5 out of 5.
"Mystery" Genre card with dark woods and
Book cover flowers with corked bottle
"Historical Fiction" genre card with glasses and book phtoo

A woman helping women kill their husbands in the 1790s through her apothecary shop? That got my attention! I loved the way this story was told through present and past day! It was a beautifully written, gripping novel that I thoroughly enjoyed!

The two characters we are focused on are Nella in the 1790s and Caroline in the present day. Nella is using her apothecary shop to help women kill their husbands with poisons. She has very strict morals about this killing. It must always be men, never women. She will destroy potions and refuse service to any request that has the intent to harm another woman. I really enjoyed her character. She was smart and resourceful, but also emotionally wounded, creating a character that I was deeply invested in.

Book cover on phone with ear buds

Caroline is escaping an adulterous husband by taking a vacation to London alone. She discovers an apothecary vial and her historian brain kicks into high gear. I loved how she became immediately interested in what this vial was, who used it, etc. Sometimes I get less interested in the present-day story-line in books like this, but in this one, I loved what she was discovering about herself and about the past. It made me so interested in both stories!

I loved the audio of this. The narrator did a wonderful job, creating a beautiful story and setting that I was completely immersed in. I would highly recommend it!

To Read or Not To Read:

I would recommend The Lost Apothecary to readers that enjoy a historical fictions story with a mystery and wonderful characters!

Where to Find This Book:

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner is available at these sites.

Amazon ~ Kindle ~ Audible ~ Goodreads
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A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

Just the Facts:

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Genre: Historical Fiction
Page Count: 269 
Publisher: Harlequin Audio / Park Row
Pub Date: March 2, 2021


I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

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