Tag Archives: literary fiction

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Book Review: The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner

I borrowed an audio copy of Sarah Penner‘s The Lost Apothecary through Hoopla. It was narrated by Lorna Bennett, Lauren Anthony, Lauren Irwin. Soooo, Lorna, Lauren and Lauren. The alliteration makes me happy.
lost apothecary audio cover

A forgotten history.

A secret network of women.

A legacy of poison and revenge.

Welcome to The Lost Apothecary.

Hidden in the depths of 18th-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious 12-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her 10th wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London 200 years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate – and not everyone will survive.

my review
I’m going to be honest; this book probably deserves more praise than I can heap on it. I thought it was well written and, as a middle-aged, married woman, who (like the character) gave up several educational dreams in exchange for stability, has faced the difference between happiness and contentment, and has consequently also just applied for to return to graduate school, I can honestly relate to A LOT of what Caroline is dealing with in the book. So, I can speak to realism.

But…BUT…I’m normally a binger. I start a book and want to finish it all in one go. Doesn’t matter if it is a physical book, ebook, or audio, I like to read things all together. Despite that, I checked this book out from the library, had to renew it, and then almost had to renew it a 2nd time before I managed to actually finish it. It just wasn’t nabbing my usually very easily grabbed attention. I struggled to force myself to pick it and sit with it long enough to reach the end. Maybe it was just too close for comfort in some aspects, but maybe also I was just bored. Regardless, I think the problem was 100% me not the book.

I do think it has a beautify cover (that’s why I picked it up) and I’m endlessly amused that the narrators are named Lauren, Lauren, and Lorna. (Yeah, I’m easily amused sometimes.)

the lost apothecary photo

Other Reviews:

Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Blog Tour The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Convenience Store Woman

Book Review: Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata

I borrowed an audio version of Convenience Store Woman (by Sayaka Murata) from Hoopla.

convenience store woman

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers’ style of dress and speech patterns so she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko’s contented stasis—but will it be for the better?

my review

This was the breath of fresh air I needed after reading a really heavy book yesterday.

I loved this. Other than ending quite abruptly, I have almost no complaints. I found Keiko’s narrative style effective, her unwitting social commentary insightful, and a lot of her attempts to communicate hilarious (in a subtle sort of way). I know this is a short review, but I honestly just want more.

convenience-store-woman photo

Other Reviews:

Book Review: CONVENIENCE STORE WOMAN by Sayaka Murata

Convenience Store Woman [Book Review]


his only wife

Book Review: His Only Wife, by Peace Adzo Medie

I purchased a Call Number literary subscription, and  Peace Adzo Medie‘s His Only Wife was one of the monthly books.

his only wife

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.

my review

I really struggled with this one. It was well written, had wonderful descriptions of Ghanaian society, and Afi certainly had personal growth throughout the book. But she was so often lied to and treated so poorly, by so many people (even while some were being good to her in other, primarily financial, ways) that I was angry on her behalf for most of the book. And while it’s good the book evoked emotions, I don’t enjoy being angry.

Plus, I had a hard time with her anger toward “the other woman.” Sure, she was The Wife, but it was still her stepping into an established relationship, not the other way around. I felt the other woman was the truest victim in the whole situation.

So, while I can say this was a quality, thought provoking book that I’m not sad to have read, I can’t say I enjoyed it.

his only wife photo

Other Reviews:

She’s Full Of Lit

ARC Book Review | His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

Review: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie