Monday, June 12, 2023

Audio Book Review - THE LOST APOTHECARY by Sarah Penner


Author: Sarah Penner
Genre: Magical Realism, Literary Fiction
Narrator: Lorna Bennett, Lauren Anthony, Lauren Irwin
Release Date: March 2, 2021

About the Book:

Instant New York Times Best Seller

Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by NewsweekGood HousekeepingHello! magazine,, Bustle, Popsugar, Betches, Sweet July, and GoodReads!

March 2021 Indie Next Pick and Number One Library Reads Pick

"A bold, edgy, accomplished debut!" (Kate Quinn, New York Times best-selling 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 18th-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 12-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 200 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.

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

This book has been sitting in my TBR pile for quite some time. When I noticed it was available as an audio book, I thought that now was the time! 

The story goes back and forth between the late 1700's and modern times in London.  Nella has a secret apothecary shop hidden in a back room where poisons are prepared according to the specifications of her clients, women who seek her help. Eliza is a 12-year old girl who soon becomes involved with helping Nella until she makes a terrible mistake.

Caroline is a modern day American woman who ends up in London alone. This was supposed to be a ten-year anniversary trip for her and her husband until she discovered he had been unfaithful. When Caroline discovers a small vial in the river, her curiosity is sparked and she begins an adventure discovering where the vial came from and it's history.

I found this story to be quite fascinating and it's obvious that the author did quite a bit of research. I was unable, however, to really connect with the characters, especially Caroline. She hid information from her only friend in London, a person who was trying to help in Caroline's research. And why in the world would a woman traveling alone in a different country venture out at night with nothing but a cell phone with a dying battery! 

Great story, but it loses one wine glass due to character development.

My Rating:

About the Author:

From Sarah Penner's webpage at

About Sarah Penner

I was born and raised in northeast Kansas, growing up in a small log cabin nestled deep in the woods. This picturesque retreat, where I lived until early adulthood, frames most of my early memories. 

I began writing seriously in 2015, after attending a moving lecture given by Elizabeth Gilbert. She was on tour for Big Magic, a game-changing book for creatives. Soon after her talk, I enrolled in my first online creative writing class. I haven't looked back since.

I'm an avid traveler, though my heart is stuck in London. Other favorite destinations include Thailand, Ireland, Germany, Belize, and Italy.

I graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in finance. In early 2021, after thirteen years in corporate America, I left my day job. I'm thrilled now to call myself a full-time writer. When I'm not at the keyboard, you'll likely find me in the kitchen, the yoga studio, or running outdoors in the Florida heat. 

I'm married to my best friend, Marc. We're proud residents of the Sunshine State, where we live with our "silky hair" miniature dachshund, Zoe. 


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