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The Lost Apothecary
The Lost Apothecary: A Novel | Sarah Penner
In this addictive and spectacularly imagined debut, a female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged themsetting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman. Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecarys register. One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purposeselling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nellas world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register. In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husbands infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she cant resist investigating, only to realize shes found a link to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Carolines life collides with Nellas and Elizas in a stunning twist of fateand not everyone will survive. With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating exploration of women rebelling against a mans world, the destructive force of revenge and the remarkable ways that women can save each other despite the barrier of time.
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monkeygirlsmama
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Pickpick

This cover had me at HELLLLLLLO! 😍

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Beautiful cover with a wonderful story within the pages! Two timelines and three character perspectives, but all transitions were seamless and easy to follow. Another great #audioread!

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OrangeMooseReads
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Pickpick

Enjoyed ‘The London Seance Society‘ so I went ahead and read this one too, I did the audio edition.
I liked this one a bit more than I did LSS. Strong women, friendship, strong women. If you been around her long enough you know I love a strong female character/bad ass female. Those book had several.
4⭐️ highly recommend.

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Andrea4
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Mehso-so

My bookclub pick. I was hyped for it and given my Herbalism studies, this should be far more interesting and entertaining. But it fell very flat with me and in many ways far too unrealistic when it came to the modern timeline (specifically her Cambridge studies). I definitely didn't love the motivation of the apothecary either.
Pictured is Bloodroot, sanguinaria canadensis- toxic.

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Elizabeth2
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Pickpick

Fantastic read! This was my book club‘s choice and my #bookspin for March. Told in a dual timeline between current day and the late 1700s, with three narrators (one present and two past), this story has twists and turns and a puzzle to solve. Caroline discovers a vial that takes her on a historical journey to uncover an apothecary‘s secrets. Strong female characters, self discovery and mystery, woven together into a fast paced novel. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Cupcake12 This has been on my TBR list for a long time x 3mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3mo
27 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Elizabeth2
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Started this one tonight. It is my Book Club‘s current pick. It hooked me right away, and seems like it will be a fast read. ❤️📚

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Adventures-of-a-French-Reader
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Mehso-so

2/5 - Very light so-so
I would have preferred a story only focusing on the past, as the modern story is 1) a pseudo self-help disguised as fiction (a crisis in the marriage, she leaves to be alone, after not even a week, she's on the mend, all that peppered with self-analysis 🙄), and 2) highly unrealistic (in relation to the studies in Cambridge).
The story of the apothecary is interesting, but the end is... disappointing.

tpixie Agree! 3mo
Andrea4 Could not agree more ESPECIALLY with the Cambridge stuff. One night application? Auto entry?? 9mon program?? 2mo
24 likes2 comments
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Rachel.Rencher
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Panpan

Edit: the more I think / talk about this book, the more I hate it. Changing from "so-so" to "pan". ?

This book was great until the last third. Without spoiling anything, it just felt like the ending was rushed. I don't normally say this (in fact I usually say the opposite), but I think it would have benefitted from another hundred pages or so.

ChaoticMissAdventures Agree. I wanted so much more from these. It felt incredibly lacking for me in the past storyline. 6mo
Rachel.Rencher Didn't want to put this in the review itself, but I wish the husband hadn't been part of it at all. OR I would've rather he found the notebook and thought she was trying to kill him. Idk - I just hated the whole eucalyptus oil scene. It made me want to chuck the book & it felt like a missed opportunity for something more sinister in the modern storyline. 6mo
Rachel.Rencher @ChaoticMissAdventures Yes! Like we drop in 20 years into Nella's career with poisons and you expect me to believe she was reckless enough to let a 12 year old rummage around in her cabinets & bring it all down? What was the point of rushing to the end like that? 6mo
See All 15 Comments
dabbe 🖤🐾🖤 6mo
ChaoticMissAdventures You are actually more measured than my review (I read this when it first came out) I went back to read my review and I was obviously angry I had read this ? I hated the husband, I thought the modern day character was juvenile. And I said "getting through the modern day story was a tortured maze of naivety" I agree a flushed out Nell would never have! 6mo
ChaoticMissAdventures Also it looks like I stared on audio and switched to physical because the narrator pronounced Bronte and Northanger Abbey wrong. I had remembered this happening in a book a couple of months ago and couldn't remember what book it was so thank you for leading me back here! 6mo
Rachel.Rencher @ChaoticMissAdventures She was so juvenile, though! What was her obsession with pregnancy? Actually, why were babies brought up so much? I really wanted this to be more of a "how'd she get away with it?" story about Nella than a "why won't our husbands give us babies" story. Ugh, I'm getting more heated the more I think about the damn book. ? Also, the way that Gaynor was okay with her just messing with historical artifacts?? Hell no. 6mo
Aims42 I love all these comments so much 🤣 You have me in stitches with your observations LOL @ChaoticMissAdventures @Rachel.Rencher 6mo
5feet.of.fury I HATED it, HATED the husband, I feel like the story glossed right over how asinine and abusive he acted. 6mo
5feet.of.fury And the pregnancy thing, go get a dang test. So frustrating haha 6mo
Laughterhp Yes! I hated the husband too! And absolutely hated the modern timeline. I‘m not sure why I actually gave this author a second chance and read her newer book. 6mo
Rachel.Rencher @5feet.of.fury YES! Like who tf ingests toxins on purpose in a foreign country to try to win over someone they cheated on?! Completely psycho. It ruined the whole idea of the book. 6mo
Rachel.Rencher @Laughterhp I didn't even know she had a second book 😳 I can't say I'll be adding it to my list, but out of curiosity was it any better? 6mo
CoffeeK8 I agree. I started off really enjoying it and ended up soooo annoyed! 6mo
ChaoticMissAdventures I love the book rage on this 🤣. I am truly flabbergasted at the positive reviews on Goodreads. You are so right about how bananas the husband was, and it totally did not fit the book vibe. I in general hate books that obsess over pregnancy (and here it felt like that was all out of left field too!) so this really was never going to work for me. 6mo
80 likes15 comments
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Rachel.Rencher
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Whyyyy did it take me so long to read this one?! I'm sailing through it.

Happy New Year, everyone! Cheers to discovering great books and crushing reading goals in 2024. 🍾🥂📚

TheIntrovertedDodoBird Gorgeous cover! p.s. your dog is adorable! 6mo
Kappadeemom I need to see more Winston🥰 6mo
TheBookgeekFrau Happy new year🎊 6mo
dabbe 🖤🐾🖤 6mo
ShelleyBooksie Those corgi ears ♡♡♡ 6mo
61 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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melissajayne
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My favourite book for February was The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. #12booksof2023

Andrew65 Sounds good. 6mo
17 likes1 stack add1 comment
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BoleyBooks
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30 likes1 stack add
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DarkMina
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I love this cover 💜🖤 8mo
Eggs Loved this book 🌺 8mo
14 likes3 comments
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BookwormAHN
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful cover 🖤💜 8mo
37 likes1 comment
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JuliaTheBookNerd
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#Lost 💖 #AutumnPlease 👻🎃🕷️🤍🧡🖤

#BookNerd 🤓📚💙

Eggs Love the colorful elixir bottle👏🏻👏🏻 8mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Great photo 🖤💜 8mo
42 likes1 stack add2 comments
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SilversReviews
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Thanks to these folks for the Scarathon fun:

@Clwojick
@StayCurious

TODAY‘S CHALLENGE: POTION/MAGIC

I‘m sure everyone has read this book…if not, you probably will want to.

Who wouldn't like to solve a hundred-year-old mystery and especially one that had to do with poisons that were used to kill unfaithful husbands or boyfriends.

FULL REVIEW: https://tinyurl.com/ajuuknhx

Bklover I enjoyed this one! 8mo
32 likes1 comment
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alecia3dixie
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Pickpick

I really liked this one. I have always been into potions as a kid, trying to mix "potions." So I feel like this book resignated with me. Also, the vibes are immaculate. I'm so glad I read this in October. The old time Lodon vibes ✨️yes✨️ I'm giving 4.5 instead of 5 because there were parts I thought were drawn out and wordy.

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CSeydel
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#FFFS

Wow wow wow! Thank you so much @Chrissyreadit for the amazing #FallingForFallSwap goodies! I absolutely love the campfire/s‘mores theme, what a cute clever idea! The candle smells wonderful and I can‘t wait to bake some goodies with the loaf pan and the baking cups. I‘ve been wanting to read both of those books too - my daughter read DJ&TS and highly recommended it but somehow I haven‘t gotten around to it. Thank you! 🍁🏕️ 🔥🧡📚

CSeydel Big thanks to both Chrissy & @Avanders for organizing! Happy fall!! 9mo
Avanders ♥️🍁🧡🍂💛🍎 yay!!! And happy fall!! 9mo
Chrissyreadit 🧡💛💛🧡So glad you enjoyed it! 9mo
CSeydel @Chrissyreadit Those marshmallow pumpkins are the cutest—I‘ve never seen them before 9mo
Chrissyreadit I thought cute too- and potentially a unique twist on s‘mores. 9mo
46 likes5 comments
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KateReadsYA
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Thank you so much, @dabbe #book2book
@AllDebooks

dabbe Yay! I hope you like them! 🧡💜💛 9mo
Crazeedi I enjoyed the Lost Apothecary! 9mo
50 likes2 comments
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hissingpotatoes
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Mehso-so

2.5/5⭐ Eh, it was just okay. The themes of history in the margins and self-actualization could have been interesting, but they were hammered to death with telling over showing. The constant switches between POVs/timelines made it difficult to stay grounded. The ending was muddled and vague in a way the book hadn't led to. The audiobook narrators were very good. #buzzwordathon

18 likes1 stack add
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hissingpotatoes
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To me, the allure of history lay in the minutiae of life long ago, the untold secrets of ordinary people.

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LazyLibrary
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️I can see where some would find this to be a slow moving, maybe even dull story. I loved it. But I have a deep love for herbalism, plant medicines and a splash of magic 💫 not so much a fantasy as a historical fiction with a hint of magical realism. Told in dual timelines London 1791 and Present day. #botm #thelostapothecary

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dabbe
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KateReadsYA I'm interested in this one!!!! 10mo
julieclair Yes 10mo
Catsandbooks Yes please 10mo
CSeydel I‘m interested in this one too 10mo
32 likes4 comments
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LunaAubry
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When a friend buys you four books that are all spot on with your preferences…..I feel so SEEN!

Which one should I start with?!?!

#ThisIsLove #BooksAreMyLoveLanguage

LiteraryinLawrence Little Fires Everywhere was really well done, I thought! Enjoy them all! 10mo
LunaAubry @LiteraryinLawrence I‘d never heard of it before my friend gave it to me so that‘s good to know! Thank you! 10mo
3 likes2 comments
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dabbe
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#BookBinge
#IncludesRecipes
@Eggs
@Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Is it okay if some of the recipes are for poisons? 😃☠️🤷‍♀️

JamieArc 😂😂☠️ 10mo
IndoorDame 😂😂😂😂most useful recipes ever! 10mo
dabbe @JamieArc @IndoorDame 🤩🤩🤩 10mo
See All 7 Comments
Eggs 🤣👍🏼😅 10mo
TheBookgeekFrau 🤣🤣 10mo
dabbe @Eggs 🤩🤩🤩 10mo
dabbe @TheBookgeekFrau 🤩🤩🤩 10mo
64 likes1 stack add7 comments
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Tamra
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Mehso-so

The historical storyline of the poison apothecary kept me listening. The present storyline was a distraction - I think generally when I am in the mood for historical fiction I prefer to remain immersed in the main period setting.

AlaMich I‘m exactly the same way. I finally stopped reading dual timeline novels when I realized that I was only interested in the historical one. I never cared about the contemporary timeline. 10mo
robinb It seems like the majority of books I read these days are dual timelines. I get whiplash sometimes switching back and forth. And as you say, @AlaMich , I always prefer one over the other...one always suffers from something. 10mo
AlaMich @robinb Yes, so many dual timelines! I say, pick an era and stick with it! 😉 10mo
See All 6 Comments
dabbe Just finished this last week and totally agree! 🤩🤗😍 10mo
Aimeesue I feel the same way. I hate most dual timeline books. Pick a lane. Or era. 10mo
CoverToCoverGirl Dual timelines are okay but I‘m with you, I much prefer one timeline, especially my historical fiction. 10mo
66 likes6 comments
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dabbe
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Pickpick

What was most enjoyable to me in this novel was the historical research in the present day to try and discover the supposed serial-killer apothecary in 1790s London. I love any book that makes me want to dig deeper into a topic. The present day difficulties between Caroline and James I could have done without, but I know why they were there. Overall, a soft pick, but I am intrigued by Sarah Penner and will read her 2nd book as well.

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dabbe
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Thanks for the tags @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @IndoorDame @Cuilin
What a fun post! 🤩🤗😍
My current read is THE LOST APOTHECARY, and the song I chose to match it is “Criminal“ by Fiona Apple.

ALL are welcome to play! 🤗

I created a Spotify song list for all of the songs from this prompt so far. Feel free to add to it! The Title is “Litsy #BookNotes“ and here's the link:
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0BweE8nr34nXd8ooqLtjey?si=8221fbe1136d4f3f

IndoorDame Perfect choice for that book! And thanks for making a playlist, such a great idea! 💜 11mo
dabbe @IndoorDame 🤗🤩😍 11mo
Cuilin I need to know the book to each song 🤦‍♀️. Thanks Denise, 💝love the playlist. 11mo
See All 7 Comments
dabbe @Cuilin I tried to do that, but Spotify won't let me. Any suggestions? 😍 11mo
Cuilin @dabbe no idea. I‘m just curious as why people chose what they did. Remember when we‘d write on the insert of a mixed tape. 😌 11mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thanks for playing and for the playlist! 🎵❤️ 11mo
dabbe @Cuilin Oh, man THOSE were the days! 🤩🤩🤩 11mo
46 likes7 comments
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dabbe
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#BookSpin
#DoubleSpin
#BookedinTime

Thanks again for hosting, @TheAromaofBooks! 💙🖤🩵

TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! Enjoy!!! 11mo
54 likes1 comment
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Autumnscribe
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Started reading this yesterday in an unexpected errand because it was the only thing available… and so far I‘m not sad I did. It has been quite a pleasant serendipity.

9 likes1 stack add
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bookish6
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Very interesting story of an apothecary who helps women poison the devious men in their lives.

#thelostapothecary #withanindigocover

6 likes1 stack add
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SB_92084
Pickpick

Read it in a day! Very fast and satisfying read set in London but spread out over 2 and a half centuries. The lead character is realistic, has normal reactions to life around her, and she has an interest in forgotten/lost history. The POV is split between 3 women of varying ages and eras (main character is the modern-times character), their stories intertwining to create a cool, atmospheric tale that you are sure to dig!

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K.Wielechowski
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Mehso-so

Told from the perspective of three different women in two different times, The Lost Apothecary is the story of a woman who uses her knowledge of 18th century medicine to help the women of London kill the men who wronged them.

It was ok. I think I would‘ve enjoyed it more if it went more into the apothecary story and the modern research. I struggled to care about Eliza at all.

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CollapsingLibrary
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Mehso-so

This was a mid book for me. Nothing remarkable, quick simple read. I liked the premise and wish we got more of the historical aspects or a story that focused on their journey more. I also was not a fan of the husband at all and have a spoiler related question in the comments for others! This is something I‘d recommend to people who are just getting into reading and need a simple story with slight intrigue.

CollapsingLibrary Was it just me or was the whole husband purposely making himself violently ill too manipulative to just casually walk past like the MC did? Cause after that scene I was ready to opt out. 12mo
dabbe I just finished it last night. I couldn't believe he drank eucalyptus oil, and it was near impossible to suspend my disbelief on it. Who does that? And to find out that he did it on purpose? #wtf And what an absolute a-hole. I could have done without that part. 10mo
57 likes2 comments
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CollapsingLibrary
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Started this book 2 days ago as next in #blindbookdate series and it‘s my #bookspin for June! Only a couple chapters left so I‘ll finish it tonight!

SW-T Enjoy! 12mo
62 likes1 comment
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Cassafrass
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Mehso-so

Decent standalone read. Finding happiness, dont need a man- vibes.
It's nothing earth-shattering but quick read based in 1700s and modern day.

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JennO1
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Pickpick

I liked this book despite all the things wrong with it. I loved the idea-a secret apothecary where woman can purchase poison to right the wrongs men have created. Yes! Old timey London! Yes! Multiple POVs! Yes! Pointless side story about a cheating husband? Toss it! Obsession by multiple characters with babies? Blah! The “I‘m not like other girls” attitude of the main character? Ugh! It could have been an amazing but even so, it‘s a fun read.

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Erin.Elizabeth10
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Mehso-so

This book tells a dual-time story of three women in London; the dark past of a woman-owned apothecary. The plot kept my attention — even though it‘s a bit unbelievable. There were some good twists! But the characters brought it down for me. They felt one-dimensional, & I did not understand their decisions most of the time. I could definitely see why someone would like this book, but it just wasn‘t my top pick bc I often value characters over plot.

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Bookish.SAM
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Pickpick

Great cover. Great subject matter to play with. Quick read. But… there were definitely some character issues. At points there were actions that just didn‘t make sense and had me shaking my head.

I‘ll still give it a pick though. It just could have been so much more.

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amsu311
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Mehso-so

For me, so-so

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Ladygodiva7
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Been wanting to read this for a while! 🧪🧙🏻‍♀️

#snowflake #snowflakes #papersnowflakes

CarrieStavish It‘s a good one! 1y
64 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Ladygodiva7
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Did a questionnaire for a book box from the library, they put it together and this is what I got. I‘ve been wanting to read The Lost Apothecary for a while now. Not sure if I‘ll read the rest (not enough time!) 😅

Pikathulhu This is amazing! Also, I super recommend The Girl with the Pearl Earring if you do end up with time! 1y
Ladygodiva7 @Pikathulhu I will try!! 1y
IndoorDame Is a book box the program where the library delivers books by mail? 1y
See All 6 Comments
Meshell1313 This sounds like such a great service!!! 1y
Ladygodiva7 @IndoorDame No, “Register once for three months and fill out the questionnaire. Your subscription box will be available for pick up the 1st of each month” It‘s a custom made book box 🙃 1y
IndoorDame @Ladygodiva7 that sounds fun! 1y
69 likes6 comments
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melissajayne
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Pickpick

4⭐️ I really liked the book. I found the story very compelling and liked how that both the modern day story and historical narrative mirror each other well. #2023 #fiction #bookreview #bookstagram #historicalfiction #bookclub

29 likes1 stack add
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LeslieO
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Time for February! Gonna try to tackle a few of my backlist #BOTM and #Bookshelftville. #BookSpinBingo #BookSpin #DoubleSpin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1y
46 likes1 comment
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Eorrlopez
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Pickpick

An easy read :) a nice story that weaves in historical fiction.

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TheHungryBookworms
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Pickpick

“Heartache is shared by all, and favors no rank.”

Omg. What a story. I absolutely loved this one. It kept me engaged the whole time. I love the characters. Well all but one, James. I didnt liked him one bit. But i dont understand the hate for Caroline. I was rooting for her and so happy with her life decisions. I would recomend others to read this book.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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steph_phanie
Panpan

Had the entire novel been the historical storyline, and only the historical storyline, it would have been fine. Still not "Pick" worthy, but fine.

However, the modern storyline was dreadful. I couldn't stand Caroline or her husband. I don't think I have ever rolled my eyes so many times! My reaction to the present day chapters were always ?? and ??‍♀️.

Sorry, Sarah Penner. This one is a ⭐️⭐️ from me.

steph_phanie I almost gave it ⭐️½ but I am feeling a tad generous, and felt Nella alone was worth ⭐️⭐️ 1y
7 likes1 comment
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steph_phanie
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CAROLINE AND JAMES ARE THE WORST!

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steph_phanie
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I bought the audiobook on sale after Christmas, and just began listening today during my commute. I'm only four chapters in but I CANNOT STAND Caroline's bit so far (the modern storyline). The narrator is distracting, and the storyline/character is very annoying and cliche! 🤮🙄😬 Honestly not sure I'll be able to make it through!

Does it get better???

Saknicole Ummmmmmm, my unfortunate answer is no; I don‘t think it gets better. I also listened to it and was eternally annoyed with Caroline. 1y
steph_phanie @Saknicole Oh darn. Is the story itself worth pushing through or should I just bail and spend my time with something else? 1y
Saknicole I finished it be because I did care about the Historical Fiction story. I often get annoyed with the unnecessary modern story lines in historical fiction. 1y
steph_phanie @saknicole I will keep going for the sake of the historical fiction story, but I can't promise I won't give up on it. Lol. 1y
6 likes1 stack add4 comments
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nitalibrarian
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We went to IKEA and couldn't resist buying another cart for books when I saw they now have a smaller version of their utility cart.

Please ignore Peri's overflowing toy basket.

kspenmoll Aww love the toys! 1y
34 likes1 comment
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Librarybelle
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November was another really good reading month, so I have three for #12BooksOf2022 ! The tagged book and Beheld were both 5 star reads for me, both historical fiction that were so engaging. I also cannot pass up the opportunity to highlight the first book in the book series upon which the TV show Midsomer Murders is based - such a fun listen!

Andrew65 All sound good reads. Plenty of hours spent enjoying Midsomer Murders. 1y
BarbaraBB Dear Jess, I received your Christmas card! Thank you so much, for the card and your kind words 💕 1y
Librarybelle @BarbaraBB You‘re welcome! ❤️ 1y
74 likes5 comments