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The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The book blurbs got me on this one, and I was very excited for the paperback release (I'm a paperback girl). While Cosmo is not my usual source for book recommendations (but I won't count it out) when I saw the blurb: "It has potions, it has betrayals, and *checks notes* feminism? Yes, please" I was in.

The story is a dual narrative, told from 3 points of view. Two are back in the 18th century while the third is contemporary, and the story is less told than discovered; Nella, a skilled apothecary, will make potions and help women who need to kill the men in their lives, motivated by vengeance. In modern day, Caroline goes to London, alone, on what's supposed to be a 10th anniversary celebration trip with her husband--because she finds out her husband was cheating on her. As a distraction and a way to rediscover who Caroline is, she gets wrapped up in a mystery and uncovering the past.

It was a lovely story, and I could quibble with a few of the plot points but what's the fun in that? I will say that Penner was much more forgiving of her male characters than I would maybe be--my general stance is that if a woman in the 18th century says she needs to murder her husband, he probably has it coming, but Penner's view was more nuanced--probably in a good way.

The historical detective work was intriguing, and probably my favorite part. There was a strong theme of finding a way to remember--and discover women's lives which may have been covered up, which was a lovely thread.

It was one of those books where the ending wraps everything up so nicely, and with an unexpected little jolt of happy that had me smiling as I set it down.

So Cosmo, I may be checking you out more often to find something fun to read.

Paperback of the Lost Apothecary

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