This book serves as a reminder that without connection and compassion to others, life can be just a shell. This book hit me right in the heart and brought tears to my eyes for many reasons — the sadness and grief in knowing that it can be so easy to lose your way and turn your back to the things that make life worth living; the recognition that we have so many chances to turn it all around if that does in fact happen; and the joy in knowing that connection to another human being can be one of the most powerful things in the world.
“Everyone loses their way at some point, and it’s not just because of their mistakes or the decisions they make. It’s because they’re horribly, wonderfully human. And the one thing I’ve learned about being human is that we can’t do this alone. When we’re lost, we need help to try to find our way again.” —T.J. Klune, “Under The Whispering Door”
If you’ve read and loved “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig, I think there’s a good chance you would also really enjoy “Under The Whispering Door”. Once you read it (or maybe even before you do) you should also check out T.J. Klune’s “The House in the Cerulean Sea” which is equally as great!
“The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner is an intriguing and unique read. Set half in the London of the past and half in modern day London, this book is a historical mystery, keeping you guessing up until the final page. The chapters alternate between our three main characters: first, there’s Nella, the owner of an apothecary shop in eighteenth century London that is most certainly not your typical apothecary; then, there is Eliza, a twelve year old maid whose path crosses with Nella in a deadly way; and finally, Caroline, a modern day woman going through a life crisis with a great interest in history that happens upon some clues leading to the lives of our other two protagonists.
Nella’s apothecary was no ordinary place, and it offered much more than your typical cures. In fact, her shop was known best for its secret distribution of poisons. Nella had dedicated her life to aiding women who wanted to escape the clutches of abusive husbands, masters, brothers, and fathers. She offered a wide variety of different poisons, and based on the exact circumstance, she procured just what was needed to go undetected and be successful in ridding these women of the oppressive forces in their lives. In real time, Caroline is going through a troubling period in her life, and she takes a trip to London hoping to clear her head. Instead, she stumbles upon a centuries old mystery, and in the process, discovers who she really is.
I enjoyed the way this novel went back and forth between past and present, and the way that the author connects the dots between the two time periods makes it exciting to read. It makes you want to go dig up a mystery of your own, to uncover something about the past that has been lost and buried. I enjoyed delving into the lives of these women, hearing their stories and their own internal struggles, and the ways that they eventually freed themselves from the things holding them back.”