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Publisher's Summary

Newsweek's 2021's Most Highly Anticipated New Books 

PopSugar's Most Anticipated Books of 2021

A New York Times top 10 best seller

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.

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 10th 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.

©2021 Sarah Penner (P)2021 W F Howes

Critic Reviews

"A bold, edgy, accomplished debut!” (Kate Quinn, New York Times best-selling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress)

“Intriguing.... 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.” (Library Journal)

“Readers who enjoy Katherine Howe and Susanna Kearsley will be drawn to this promising, fast-paced debut.” (Booklist)

What listeners say about The Lost Apothecary

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I loved this book, but...

I really enjoyed this book. I loved all the female protagonists. But the husband was just a gaslighting bore. I couldn't tolerate him. I must admit I would have liked a different ending for him. But that being said, I will remember this book fondly and look for other books by this author. The narrator did a great job and added to the story.

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Profile Image for chloe florence
  • chloe florence
  • 08-06-21

Good story, niggling narrators.

loved the story, brilliant story.
I found Caroline's narrator a bit too forceful like I would describe it as aggressive storytelling, never come accross it before found it really bizarre and then the internal monologue on an English accent and then the speaking in American. that really threw me!
likewise the narrator for eliza hisses her 's' and once you've heard it you can't unhear it!!
Nella's narration though, spot on exactly how I would have imagined her to sound had I been reading this book rather than listening.
I would recxomend this book though really enjoyed it

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Deborah
  • 10-17-21

Awful Awful Awful recording of the narration

I enjoyed this story immensely. However, it was spoiled by the recording of the narration which was at times like an automated voice you would get on an automated answer to a telephone call. Very artificial and most annoying. Please if you expect people to pay good money for an audible book have the professionalism to proof listen to the recordings.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • R. Morris
  • 08-29-21

An interesting area of history with a female focus

The story held together generally quite well, although there were some holes (the police did not exist in the 1790s and neither Bow Street Runners - their rough equivalent- nor Parish Constables were uniformed). It also seemed a groundless and rather big leap when Caroline assumed early on that the vial she found during mudlarking, related to apothecary killings.
Later on during questioning at the hospital, it’s as clear the author wanted to draw parallels between the character and personality of the modern policeman and the historical one, but it came over as unrealistic as unlikely - uniformed police would be unlikely to undertake that kind of questioning if attempted murder were suspected.
Finally, Eliza’s narrator.. Perhaps she had been told to read more slowly, but the result was that she put emphasis repeatedly on the later consonants in words at the end of sentences. The consequent sibilance/emphasis (lassssst; leffffft; missssed; wissssse)and strange extending of words became noticeable; quite awkward and intrusive to listen to.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Labradorite
  • 11-11-21

Caroline's Narrator Lets Down This Audible Version

I found the protagonist (Caroline) quite self absorbed. The narration for Caroline didn't quite sit well for me given that she was supposed to be American yet had a British accent. I found her voice incredibly monotone so her chapters of the book were difficult to listen to. She was an irritating character, for me personally.
However I continued to listen because the story was engaging and Eliza's narration was a perfect fit for the character she portrayed, as was Nella's. Their narration really captured the essence of each character's personality and background.
It would be better improved by changing whoever narrated Caroline's part with a genuine American voice and a bit more vocal range.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Megz_moon_owl
  • 06-21-22

captivating,

I found the story to be captivating,& intriguing, the story appeared weird at first jumping from one person and time off the century and then to present day, but I quickly learnt this was the captivating part,the historical research for this book is 2nd to none,...well written

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  • Gracie may
  • 06-07-22

Great story, variable narration

Really enjoyed all of this book except for ‘Caroline’. Thoughts read in a southern English accent, bizarrely with short A as in more northern dialect. Interspersed with American phrases ‘pants’ ‘ass’ etc again in English accent. Then actual speech in (very questionable) American accent. Wish I’d read the book instead!

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  • Matt
  • 06-06-22

Let down by terrible narration

A good story is in there somewhere but I found two of the narrators very annoying and robotic in delivery which let the whole thing down. You can do better than this, Audible.

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  • Inishowen Cailin
  • 05-29-22

Good historical novel

I found this to be a very engaging historical novel. Dark themes are explored quite gently but without leaving any doubt as to what has or what will happen. I liked the dual timeline but I found myself more immersed in the 1791 story involving Eliza and Nella. I liked the contemporary aspect but mostly because I enjoyed watching Caroline piece together the apothecary's history rather than the story about her messed up marriage.
This was a book I enjoyed reading over a few days.

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  • Yog Forever
  • 05-02-22

Great story. 1 awful narrator.

Great story line.
Caroline’s narrater ruined it for me with her robotic monotone voice. Robots may even sound more human.
My least favourite chapters were Caroline ones. 80% due to narrating and 20% story line.
Loved Nella and the young girls narrators.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynne
  • 04-22-22

Interesting and compelling listening

Really enjoyed the historical data. Brought the story telling alive. Surprised at the end by finding Eliza Fanning had survived the jump into the Thames. Great book.

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  • Sue
  • 08-22-21

Hard to listen to.

I found ‘Carolyns’ voice very hard to listen to, the same monotone and at times forceful. Had to make myself listen as I was interested in the story.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-11-21

Clever plot, lacking soul

I enjoyed this story and wanted to finish to the end to find out what happened but I felt that something was missing.

It lacked depth and soul. The story line and characters were well thought out and the whole concept was brilliant.

It all came together perhaps a little too well, too perfectly!

An entertaining listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tori Jewkes
  • 10-17-21

Narration ruined story.

The narration (especially for Caroline) was very difficult to put up with. I was interested to follow the story and so persevered. Caroline sounded harsh and it made me really dislike her character whereas Eliza sounded breathy and annoying. In the end, the story was okay but not worth suffering through the narration.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-28-22

Engaging and worth a read

A little cheesy and a tad predictable but overall an engaging read. a good choice for a holiday book, reading on the train or something to help you switch off at the end of the day.

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  • GiGi
  • 10-02-21

Engaging characters and story

loved the story line and felt constantly engaged.

Only negative is not a fan of the voice of Caroline, sounds like she was reading a spoken word poem and was a bit frustrating at times.