Customer Review

Reviewed in Australia on 6 April 2021
The blurb had me hooked and curious, the plot sounded so unique! I was expected to be on the edge of my seat, reading till late on a work night unable to put the book down. I wanted to know what events caused Nelly down her dark path and why would there be a 12 year old customer?!
Sadly the book was a colossal disappointment.

Plot
This book was quite simple in that all the sequence of events were straightforward and the key moments felt rushed as there wasn’t enough build up or details for me to get lost in the book. The dual timeline almost felt like a pointless filler as the current day in Caroline’s point of view was definitely the less exciting timeline. There weren't many new things to discover that you don’t already find out from the past timeline.
It seemed quite unrealistic how easily Caroline discovered the secret apothecary that no one else had over so many years. She somehow formed an immediate deep connection with Nelly and Eliza’s story, causing her to hide some of her findings which didn’t make much sense to me and justify her actions.
I was so curious as to why a 12 year old would request Nelly’s service, but learning about her side of the story was uneventful.
I didn’t feel much excitement during the climax where the resolution and small twist had me asking, oh, is that all? Caroline’s predicament was straightforward and predictable, I never wondered how is she going to get out of this?! Although during the true climax with Nelly and Eliza I did wonder, it was resolved way too easily.

Characters
I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. I just didn’t feel the rollercoaster of emotions that I was expecting, I thought I would deep dive into complex characters where I would feel conflicted to root for. Nelly reminds me of Dexter, I really wanted to know what happened that led her to form such code/rules.Although it was tragic, it was glossed over quite quickly so I never felt I was fully invested or rooted for Nelly. Even when Nelly was forced to honour a request to dispense poison intended for a female, it was almost too easy to violate her rules.
There’s not much to say about Caroline or Eliza, there wasn’t much to like or dislike about them as they were simple and straightforward.

This book had so much potential, but the delivery did not live up to expectations (in this case the blurb). Overall it was an ok read that was easy to put down and resume later.
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