In present-day London, Caroline is visiting from the United States and finds an intriguing vial while "mudlarking" in the Thames. A history lover, she researches it and learns it may have belonged to an apothecary from centuries before--one who didn't just heal.
In 1791, Nella helps women find freedom from men who ruin their lives--but she does it in the darkest of ways. When 12-year-old Eliza finds herself in Nella's shop, she is intrigued by her work. Their collaboration could jeopardize not only themselves but also all of the women Nella has helped.
This was a fascinating premise and I enjoyed the path of the stories--especially the one in 1791. A few elements that seemed a little hastily done and didn't quite ring true took me out of the story, which knocked this down a bit for me.
This post may include affiliate links. That means if you click and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Please see Disclosures for more information.
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.
One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.
In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.