Thursday, May 10, 2012

"the apothecary's daughter" by julie klassen

The Apothecary's Daughter was a free Kindle download in January 2011. At the time, I'd never heard of author Julie Klassen before (I didn't even have a Kindle yet; I was using the Kindle for PC reading app), so it was just one more book that I downloaded and forgot. Flash forward a year: I'm reading another Klassen book, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, into the wee hours of the morning, when I suddenly think, "I have a Julie Klassen book on my Kindle!" I finished The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, reviewed it, and then promptly forgot about the other Klassen book ... until last week, when I didn't feel like reading any of my review books, but I wanted to read something. I searched my Kindle, and there it was: The Apothecary's Daughter.

About the book: Lilly Haswell helps her father run his apothecary shop, but she dreams of a bigger life, full of adventure. She gets a taste of that life when her estranged aunt and uncle suddenly appear, offering to host her in London for the upcoming season. Just as she's fitting in—and perhaps making a suitable match—tragedy calls her back to her village. Women are not allowed to work as apothecaries, but in order to save her father from financial ruin, Lilly must keep the shop going while her father is incapacitated. She also must decide which of her suitors—the doctor from London, her father's former apprentice, or the lord of the manor—she will allow to claim her heart.

My take: I enjoyed The Apothecary's Daughter. It wasn't a gripping read by any means, but it was a nice way to spend a few hours. It's not as much of a romance as I expected—when I was 3/4 of the way through the book, I had no idea which of her three (or possibly four) suitors Lilly would end up choosing, and I didn't particularly care. I wasn't invested in any of the romantic relationships; rather, I was more interested in Lilly's relationship with her best friend (who was part of a delicious twist in the story), and in Lilly's search for her mother (a plotline that was largely ignored for most of the book, only to be quickly tied up at the end).

This book was one of Klassen's earliest, and while it's good, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is far superior. If you happened to get The Apothecary's Daughter as a free Kindle download, as I did, then by all means read it. But if you've never read anything by Klassen before, I'd recommend going right for The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! 3-1/2 stars.

About the author: Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011), which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit

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