What readers think of The Lost Apothecary, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Lost Apothecary

A Novel

by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner X
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2021, 320 pages

    Feb 2022, 352 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book


Page 4 of 4
There are currently 28 reader reviews for The Lost Apothecary
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Martha G. (Columbia, MO)

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
A thoroughly researched novel about a not-so-wonderful subject; poisoning those who malign others' lives. The Lost Apothecary toggles back and forth from the 1700's hidden apothecary shop to the present day problems of a couple who are experiencing a "poisoning" of their marriage.

The first third of the book introduced the characters, but because of their negative attitudes, I found them unlikable. I became more engaged as the historical revelations took over in the middle development of the plot. Finally, watching Caroline, Nella, and Eliza fight for their lives created a fascinating ending.

The author has used the language of the 1700s almost as another character. I noticed one discrepancy on page 218...Gaynor goes out to buy a latte and then later is described as "lifting the lid from her cup to let her tea cool".

It may be the unpleasant subject matter that would keep me from recommending this book to someone else, but I suspect book clubs would find it ripe with discussion points. I found I had to suspend my "that couldn't happen" realistic brain on a couple of incidents. But that's a part of the magick!

good book
For a first book it is very good. However I have bought it because the wait at my library was for ever. I am disappointed because the big buzz around this book is not justified. It is entertaining but that is about it.
Dorothy G. (Naperville, IL)

Recommend with Reservations
The plot concept was brilliant and hooked me with just the description. I did feel that the execution of the plot, while interesting, was simplistic in its unveiling. The author tended to over describe connections and reveals that felt condescending. Additionally, some of the character events felt unsubstantiated. For example, Caroline's husband was not mean spirited or manipulative throughout the novel and then it's revealed that he's a master manipulator who may be suicidal. Eliza's introduction to magic and her near miss with death felt hurried and overly simplified. I wish Sarah Penner had taken more time to flesh out these characters and events. Overall the story line was good and I would recommend to others albeit readers who tend toward young adult fiction.

Too many plot holes
The concept was interesting, and the dual storylines made for quick reading. The past storyline was more compelling than the present-day one, mostly because Caroline was an annoying/unlikeable character. My biggest issue, though, were the unending plot holes and nonsensical/idiotic devices used to drive the story forward. The ending frustrated me to the point where I seriously wanted to throw the book into a shredder. What could have been a really great book was reduced to a weak first draft because of lazy writing/editing.

Beyond the Book:

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Book of Goose
    The Book of Goose
    by Yiyun Li
    Yiyun Li's The Book of Goose is a story of childhood friendship between narrator Agnès, a one-...
  • Book Jacket: Big Red
    Big Red
    by Jerome Charyn
    Jerome Charyn made his name as an author of detective novels, and over the years he has taken his ...
  • Book Jacket: If I Survive You
    If I Survive You
    by Jonathan Escoffery
    In If I Survive You, author Jonathan Escoffery portrays a family falling apart with grace. Main ...
  • Book Jacket: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    by Sidik Fofana
    'Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?' ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting
The engrossing epic novel - a #1 bestseller in Norway - of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village's mystical church bells.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Our Missing Hearts
    by Celeste Ng

    From the author of Little Fires Everywhere, the inspiring new novel about a mother’s unbreakable love in a world consumed by fear.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.



Solve this clue:

G R T Bad R

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.