In 18th century London there exists a secret apothecary shop catering only to women who have been wronged by the men in their lives. The owner dispenses poisons to free the women with the rule that they must never be used to harm another woman. More than 200 years later, a young woman, alone in London after receiving the shocking news of her husband’s infidelity, finds a glass vial linked to the shop while mudlarking on the banks of the River Thames. A remarkable debut novel of historical fiction that switches between timelines as the women tell their stories, and brings past and present London to life.
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
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.