18th Century, London. In a bleak room as dark and dank as her empty soul, Nella grinds and concocts poisons that will effectively kill men—undetected.
For a price, any woman who has been cheated on, used, abused, swindled, broken-hearted, scorned, and can swear to secrecy and promise to never use the poisons on another woman, can safely seek her revenge. For decades, invisible obscurity is how the Apothecary ran. Until Eliza showed up at Nella's secret door with a request from her society mistress.
Present-day Caroline is touring London solo—she was supposed to have been celebrating her 10th wedding anniversary. Instead, she's on her own, nursing a shattered heart.
Joining a 'mudlarking' group, mucking about in the shallows of a river, Caroline finds a tiny, blue vial with a unique etching. Intrigued, the latent historian in her decides to investigate. Slowly unearthing clues, she discovers the ages-old Apothecary, but her quest is cut short when her estranged husband shows up announced. When he is unexpectedly seized by a violent sickness, Caroline is suspected of intentionally poisoning him.
Seamlessly shifting between the two timelines and the stories of the characters, Penner delivers a fascinating, fantastical, and evocative read.
It was hard to put down and I didn't until I finished it. Highly recommended.
Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada) for the read of Sarah Penner's, The Lost Apothecary.
Opinions expressed are my own.