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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.
This was a really well thought out, pacey story. I enjoyed the parallel stories which drew you in and kept you turning the pages. The only thing that let this book down really badly was the anachronistic language and syntax which was so jarring to me, a British reader, that it ruined the flow of the story. No 18c English noblewoman would use the phrase ‘if she had any smarts’ and the words ‘ok’ and ‘gender’ were not in use then. Neither was the phrase ‘is all’ at the end of a sentence. This also happened with Gaynor’s dialogue, British people don’t say ‘sneakers’ or ‘orient’. It’s just really bad and lazy editing and almost ruined an otherwise enjoyable read.
i read the book quite quickly which means i did enjoy it but i thought it was quite patchy. there were bits of london which were obviously written by an american so it made me come out the story when i noticed it. i also found the self discovery element a bit cringe. a good beach read tho
There are so many implausible things that happen in this book. The author is also very sympathetic to a character who sells deadly poisons to women seeking to do away with their husbands. This character is only slightly weirder than the present day young woman who, without chasing any false leads, unravels a 200 year old secret in the space of 3 days. Just badly written book.
Loved the premise about an apothecary in 18th century London. After reading glowing reviews elsewhere I couldn't wait to read this book. Many of the more critical Amazon reviewers were right about Eliza sounding like a 40yo instead of a 12yo girl. Why is a 12yo so giddy about murdering men? And 21st century Caroline is a super sleuth! No one in 200 years discovered the hidden apothecary shop but she finds it in what 2-3 days? How nice that it's close to her hotel, too. It's astounding that she gets into Oxford grad school with an online application and plans to move to Britain to attend school in the fall. Oxford is one of the hardest universities to get into is my understanding. The Lost Apothecary read more like a Readers Digest abridged story. This is the author's first book. It needed a better editor. Perhaps her next book will be better.
I wanted to enjoy this but, found myself annoyed by the parallel coincidences taking place between 1791 and present time.
Do any of you listen to mash-ups or smoosh-ups on Sound Cloud? Thie author had a really good premise and story outline, but did a poor job if executing her vision. Her mash-up between the main female character in 1791 and the main female character in present time just didn't gel and wasn't believable.
Not a bad book; don't pay full price and wait to show at a discount.
I enjoyed the overall story arc, seeing how the two timelines were going to connect, and how Caroline was going to deal with her situation. It was a cute read, but I agree with some of the other more negative reviews about the dialogue in particular - it was very stiff and not at all realistic, sometimes taking me out of the story. I was also infuriated with what information Caroline chose to share and which not toward the end of the story (trying to not get too spoilery here).
tl;dr: Decent quick read with a relatively interesting story, but not particularly well written