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Check It Out: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

This is Sarah Enright, with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check It Out.

 Today, I am recommending, The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, a dual timeline tale packed with history, fantasy, deceit, poison, and murder.


First, we’re transported to 1791 London where Nella lives and works in an apothecary shop hidden in a dark alley. The shop, along with her ability to concoct healing remedies and aptitude for serving others was inherited from her late mother. After a dreadful betrayal by a man she deeply loved, she’s compelled to use her skillset to provide a menacing service. She begins formulating poisons to secretly aid women that wish to be free of the wicked men in their lives. In other words, she’s a murderer. As Nella’s stressful work and failing health begin to take a toll on her, a precocious young patron, Eliza, returns to the shop requesting to assist Nella as an apprentice, leaving her with a tough decision.  


Fast forward to the present-day. In the midst of marital betrayal, Caroline Parcewell has landed alone in London on what was supposed to be a trip with her husband to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. As she begins exploring the city on her own, she’s immediately invited to join a mudlarking group. Despite not knowing what she’s getting into, she decides to give it a try and soon learns that she’ll be hunting for treasure along the banks of the River Thames. When she stumbles upon a blue glass vial with a unique etching, she has no idea it’s just the beginning of a fascinating adventure. 


Find The Lost Apothecary and more books like it at the Sioux City Public Library. 


 Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.