Book Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner- Book Review feature image

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner — consists of relationships, anger, vengeance, and realizations. It is a book where the past and the present collide to cause exciting events. It is a book that shows how far a human being can go with prolonged hatred in their heart, how people change, and how fickle every relationship can get. Here, I have for you a review of one of the most exciting books of 2021, The Lost Apothecary.

You won’t believe it if I tell you that it wasn’t my intention to pick this book to read. I got this book accidentally, but now that I’ve read it, I can’t stop going through it over and over again. So, what happened was that my bag of books got exchanged with someone else at the store. I didn’t realize it till I got home, but it was too late then. But I’m glad that this happened, as if not for that accident, I probably would’ve never gotten to read this fantastic book.

The Lost Apothecary is a mysterious historical fiction novel written by Sarah Penner. Published in March 2021, this novel shows all the broken limits of hatred, grudges, revenge. When ‘the poison girl’ Nella, joined by a very young Elisa, seeks revenge on all the unfaithful men, which she sees as a fulfillment of her revenge towards her unfaithful partner, all come to an unexpectedly heart-filling end.

Be ready to witness plenty of broken relationships, great unfaithfulness, the hunger for revenge, and the crimes committed in the name of them all with this mind-blowing and heart-wrenching novel.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner | Overview

Quotes. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Now, let us know a little about the book and the author.

About The Book | The Lost Apothecary

Full Title: The Lost Apothecary

Author: Sarah Penner

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: 2nd March 2021

Publishing House: HarperCollins

Page Count: 320


This book is set in two timelines, one in the past, that is, 1791, and one in the present time. The story starts inside an apothecary shop in London in 1791, owned by a woman named Nella. Behind some fake walls, she vends poison from the apothecary shop, which is known only to a few women of the town.

Nella had been betrayed by her lover, who hurt her in numerous ways, and that’s when she started dispensing poison to women to help them get revenge upon the guys who wrong them.

You can buy this book through amazon.

About The Author | Sarah Penner

Born and raised in northeast Kansas, Sarah Penner, the debut writer of ‘The Lost Apothecary,’ works full-time in finance and is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association.

Her debut novel, published at the beginning of 2021, became the year’s NY bestseller. This book has legal distribution rights in a total of 23 territories.

She is married to her best friend, Mark, and they both live in St. Petersburg, Florida, along with a miniature dachshund named Zoe.

Summary Of The Book- The Lost Apothecary

In her poison vending business, Nella is joined by a young girl, Eliza, who works as a servant in a house. She had helped her mistress kill her master using Nella’s poison and now is scared of being chased by her master’s angry spirit. Nella and Eliza work together and continue to sell poison.

Eliza is traumatized by the death of her master, thinking that now his spirit will bring a bad omen on her. Due to this, she seeks some magical help which she thinks would help and save her.

While still in the business of selling poison, something goes South, so they both have to flee the apothecary shop, with constables chasing after them. Thinking of the magical assistance she got earlier, Eliza sacrifices herself, saving Nella from death or the police. Assuming that the ‘poison girl’ is dead, the constables go away.

Now moving on to the present time, we have Caroline, who is on an anniversary trip to London alone after finding out her husband’s infidelity. She gets a word about the apothecary shop once run by Nella. She finds herself involved in historical research where she finds a vial of the deadly poison prepared by Nella a long time ago, along with a few more secrets for the bonus.

For complete story, you can read this book online on Kindle.

My Thoughts On The Book

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner cover image
Source: pagesofthemoone

As a reader and a reviewer of this book, I think it’s only fair that I put forward my own thoughts that came into my mind while reading this book.

What All I Liked (And Didn’t Like) About The Book

First off, I liked Caroline’s bold character. After finding out about her husband’s infidelity, she didn’t sit back to suffer. Still, instead, she moved to London to pursue a career, quite contrary to the other female characters mentioned in the book, which saw revenge upon their cheating partners, destroying many lives, including their own. Even in the end, she didn’t reveal Eliza’s secret even when she knew that doing that would offer her quite a fortune.

I feel like Nella’s character could have shown a little more character growth. She helped several women kill their disloyal partners without proper knowledge of what had happened, and what struck me the most was the fact that she wasn’t feeling guilty about doing anything until the end when someone sacrificed her life for her. She was never even a bit hesitant handing over the poison to those ladies, knowing that someone would die because of her.

This entire book is filled with betrayals, heartbreaks, hatred, vengeance, sacrifices, and more such negative emotions. But even in the middle of all this, there was something that I considered as a small happy ending for me to be happy about. It was Eliza’s and the magic store owner’s marriage and the fact that the relationship was going smooth until the end.

My Takeaway From The Book

There’s a lot to take away from this book, or from any book for that matter. Reading this book was like a rude awakening for me as I learned never to trust anyone too much blindly, which is quite contradictory to my nature. It might be my savior in this aspect.

I saw the heights of wrongdoings that the emotions like anger and hatred could lead a person towards. Keeping hatred towards something or someone for a long time will do little harm to the other but a lot to ourselves, which was my other takeaway from this book.

Even in the extreme emotional turmoil and harsh situations, I witnessed tenderness, kindness, and sacrifices made in the name of friendship which made me realize that no one can change who you are. You are the only one who has to choose for yourself, and once you do, no matter what the situation out there is, you’ll remain the same.

Rating And Review


Everything being said and done, I think this book deserves a rating of 3.5 out of 5.


It’s fascinating to see that women are voluntarily helping fellow women in this book, which is pretty rare to see. Usually, in other fictional novels, it’s a woman who becomes the leading cause of trouble for another woman, but what we have in this book is something new and unique. This novel takes the readers on a trip to the lanes of 1790s London. The author has very beautifully and realistically portrayed a sketch of the society of London as it was in 1791.

When I came across this book while looking for books on the internet, I found a good amount of criticism from the male audience, claiming that this book portrays men as unfaithful beings overall. Still, when I read the book, I didn’t see any severe attacks being made on men or any community for that matter. So, while reading this book, the reader’s discretion is advised.

I wouldn’t recommend this book for children under 15 years of age as it contains several strong themes that are not suitable for young minds. Besides, the overall plot of this book would be confusing for a child so young.

Conclusion | The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner Book Review

The Lost Apothecary is not only a NY times bestseller of 2021. Overall, it is a very fantastic and successful book, and the best part is that it’s just the debut novel of the author Sarah Penner! She managed to make her first novel a complete masterpiece. Who knows what all she has in her mind for next time!

If you liked this review, I’ve got a couple more for you to check out:

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