The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – Spoiler Free Review | Once Upon a Book Club Box

Publisher: Park Row

Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

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A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting 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 apothecary’s 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 purpose—selling 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 Nella’s 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 husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.


We will be going to 1791 London as well as modern day London. Where will I go? You may ask. In 1791 I highly suggest the Apothecary shop off of Bear Alley. There you can find all your naturalistic medicinal needs. If you are in the market for revenge, Nella can also help there, by selling you poisons to get rid of the man who wronged you. She will also tell you how exactly to minister the poison so as not to get caught. She will give you a vial with a bear etched on it so as not to get mixed up with your other day to day vials. Nella and Eliza might even take you to the fields beyond the city to pluck blister beetles and teach you how to roast them and make them into a poison.

Not a murderer? May I suggest the Shoppe of Books and Baubles. There you might find books on magick. Maybe the recipes for magick will work, maybe not. Only time will tell. Much has changed in 200 years but some mysterious are still waiting to be solved.

In modern day London, you must go Mudlarking on the River Thames. Who knows what you will find. You just might find a mysterious 200 year old vial with a bear etched on it. To solve that mystery, you should check out The British Library. There you can research find old articles about 200 year old murders.


There are a few things you can eat while you waltz about London murdering people or solving said murders. In 1791 London, there are some lovely eggs that 12 year old Eliza makes that are to DIE for. Or a glass of champagne at a party. Careful you keep a watch on your glass. In modern day London, I highly suggest Dal Fiume Italian restaurant where you can drink copious amounts of Chianti wine. Or a little coffee shop around the corner from your hotel where you can meet with new friends.


There are quite a few people you will meet as you go on your adventure. Nella runs an apothecary shop off of Bear Alley in 1791 London. It is very hard to find but once you do you will find her slaving away making tinctures and poisons for those lucky enough to see her. You will notice that she moves a bit stiffly from some sort of disease, maybe cancer and arthritis. She is also surrounded by a cloud of grief. She has suffered heavy loss throughout her 40 years of life. Her mission in life is to help women.

You will also meet Eliza. Eliza is a 12 year old girl who loves working for her mistress. But when her mistress takes to the country for awhile, she works with Nella and helps run her shop temporarily. She is a very brave and inquisitive girl with perhaps a wild imagination. She works hard at everything she does.

In modern day London, Caroline is the women to know. With a history degree and a reawakened adventurous spirit, she won’t give up until she knows all the mysteries of the past. She will lead you on a wild research adventure as she learns to cope with her husband’s infidelity and rediscover who she is.


Sarah Penner takes you on an adventure to solve a mystery and have compassion for those who are not dealing well with their traumas. I quite liked traveling through her world. It made me want to go dig up crazy historical finds!

Once Upon a Book Club Box

I had help during my adventure with Once Upon a Book Club Box! I got to open a special gift on certain pages, that enhanced the story experience. The Lost Apothecary was the March Adult Book. I really love these boxes! They are seriously so fun! Here are some close ups of the items they included in this box! Included was a decorative bowl of eggs, Eucalyptus Oil, a quill stylus, and a diffuser jar. If you are interested, I have a coupon code to save 10% on their boxes: Storied10

Published by Storied Adventures

I have loved reading ever since I can remember. As a child, I often heard the words, "Please put down your book for one second!" That still hasn't changed as an adult! I am always reading at least two books and I will always have one on me!

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