It was a simple thing. One day Nella was selling herbs, teas and tinctures to help women. The next, it seemed, she had closed the front of her apothecary shop and begun to sell poison out the back alley. When a young girl asks for a poison to kill Nella must decide how far she will go. Caroline arrives in London, alone, after finding out her husband has been having an affair. There is nothing that ties her to Nella except a small blue vial she finds in the river upon her arrival. Author Sarah Penner deftly weaves the story of two women in London, born decades apart. Without ever meeting, Caroline and Nella will fight to survive and to redefine themselves. This book is beautiful, magical, and empowering.
-Chrissy— From Chrissy's Recs
March 2021 Indie Next List
“A wonderful melding of two timelines told by a trio of female voices. Each woman is standing at a crossroads; one is just becoming a woman, one is anticipating the end of her life, and one the end of her marriage. A small, blue apothecary bottle links the women and the timelines together. Penner skillfully guides us along the path each woman chooses. I could hardly bear to put the book down, such was the need to know the choice each woman makes and the consequences of that choice.”
— Sandi Madore, Magnolia's Bookstore, Seattle, WA
Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Hello magazine, Oprah.com, 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.