Tuesday, April 22, 2014

'The Apothecary's Daughter' by Julie Klassen


As Lilly toils in her father's apothecary shop, preparing herbs and remedies by rote, she is haunted by memories of her mother's disappearance. Villagers whisper the tale, but her father refuses to discuss it. All the while, she dreams of the world beyond --- of travel and adventure and romance.

When a relative offers to host her in London, Lilly discovers the pleasures and pitfalls of fashionable society and suitors, as well as clues about her mother. But will Lilly find what she is searching for --- the truth of the past and a love for the future?

I felt this novel was a time-machine drawing me back to Jane Austen's regency era in the most fabulous way.

The four possible suitors for Lilly's hand were intriguing. There's the gruff, rakish son of the local nobleman, who frightens everybody. Then there's a timid, but thoughtful young doctor with self-esteem and confidence issues. Third is the rival apothecary who sets up in opposition to her father, and has an undeniable Casanova appeal. Finally, there's her father's former awkward apprentice, who has grown to be unexpectedly quite dishy. I wasn't taken by surprise by her final choice. He's the one I would have chosen too and I was cheering him on all the way. The fact that he was also athletic and handsome was just a bonus. He and Lilly were the perfect match in principle and integrity. What I appreciated about her was the way in which she knew her London 'season' was probably over for good but chose to stay at home because it was just the right thing to do. She was richly rewarded.

The book highlights what really matters in life in a beautiful, easy-to-swallow way. I found Lilly's relationship with her father and her brother, Charlie deeply moving too. I noticed some reviewers expressed disappointment with the way the mystery about Lilly and Charlie's mother was wrapped up, but I thought it true to life. ""POSSIBLE SPOILER"" A guinea pig may have been harmed within the pages of this book, 

5 stars

  The Apothecary's Daughter available from Amazon

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