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The Lost Apothecary
Cover of The Lost Apothecary
The Lost Apothecary
A Novel
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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.
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About the Author-
  • Sarah Penner is the debut author of The Lost Apothecary, to be translated in eleven languages worldwide. She works full-time in finance and is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women's Fiction Writers Association. She and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida, with their miniature dachshund, Zoe. To learn more, visit slpenner.com.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2020

    DEBUT After finding out her husband has been having an affair, Caroline Parcewell leaves alone for London on what was supposed to be their 10th-anniversary trip. While on a mudlarking tour along the banks of the Thames, she finds a small glass vial with an imprint of a bear. Believing the vial to be quite old, Caroline sets off for the British Library to see if she can discover any clues to its history. As she digs deeper, readers are pulled into an intriguing parallel story. In 1791, Nella's apothecary shop is hidden in a back alley behind a false wall. Some of the remedies Nella sells happen to be poisons, for women who wish to rid themselves of abusive men in their lives. When one of Nella's poisons results in the death of a lord, the authorities begin seeking the apothecary responsible. Nella must flee or risk the exposure of her other clients. VERDICT Readers who enjoy parallel historical/contemporary narratives about women's lives, such as Claire McMillan's The Necklace or Liz Trenow's The Forgotten Seamstress, will enjoy the historical details and mystery in this engrossing tale.--Melissa Stoeger, Deerfield P.L., IL

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 4, 2021
    In Penner’s faltering debut, a contemporary American woman uncovers a clue to a series of unsolved murders in 18th-century London. After Caroline Parcewell learns her husband, James, is having an affair, she flies alone from Ohio to London on what was meant to be their anniversary trip. There, she finds a glass vial in the Thames. Her research on the bear etched on the bottle turns up newspaper articles about the suicide of a woman known as the London “Apothecary Killer” in 1791, and leads her to the site of the woman’s shop. Penner switches from Caroline’s sleuthing to the story of the apothecary, Nella Clavinger, who gave poison to women to use on men who wronged them in various ways. Back in the present, Caroline contends with James showing up and getting accidentally poisoned after trying to win her back. Penner’s story starts strong but peters out as the engaging premise gets muddled in convenient plot turns, though the author does a good job of making two disparate stories into eventual foils for one another. This has a few things going for it, but in the end it fails to cast a spell. Agent: Stefanie Lieberman, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc.

  • Booklist

    March 1, 2021
    In the late eighteenth century, Nella owns an apothecary specializing in remedies for women, with a brisk side business in poisons. Her latest customer is Eliza, a servant girl charged with procuring poison for her mistress. Nella's dreams of motherhood were destroyed by a callous young man, and Eliza is curious about the intricacies of Nella's business. The two form a tenuous bond that quickly strengthens when Nella's livelihood is threatened. In the present day, Caroline's romantic anniversary trip to London becomes a solo sojourn because of her husband's infidelity. Determined to make the best of the situation, Caroline joins a mudlarking expedition and finds a mysterious bottle in the river. Her investigation into the bottle's provenance unravels the long-hidden mystery of Nella's apothecary, while also reminding Caroline of her pre-marriage dreams. Penner finds clever parallels between Nella and Caroline, and avoids the pitfall of one storyline outshining the other--all three women have compelling tales, and while Nella's business may not be on the up-and-up, her motives are understandable. Readers who enjoy Katherine Howe and Susanna Kearsley will be drawn to this promising, fast-paced debut.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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The Lost Apothecary
A Novel
Sarah Penner
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