Monday, January 19, 2009

Julie Klassen's The Apothecary's Daughter ~ Reviewed

The Apothecary’s Daughter
By Julie Klassen
Bethany Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0480-7

Lilly Haswell remembers everything—whether she wants to, or not. 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?

Once again, author Julie Klassen delivers a satisfying historical account with plenty of twists and meted out information to make you want to read just one more chapter. Her characters carry a Dickens’ flavor as does the small village of Bedsley Priors. If you’re looking for a visit to merry Olde England, this is the book for you.

What I appreciated most about heroine Lilly Haswell is that she is presented so realistically. She fights with self-doubt and second-guessing, especially when trying to make a decision. Life’s choices are rarely uncomplicated and neither are the choices Lily must make.

Another thing I really enjoyed is the way Klassen refrained from revealing too many clues as to which man Lilly would eventually wed. So often in a story this is made apparent all too soon. She left the reader to wonder, allowing for more of a connection to the characters and upping the tension.

As expected, Klassen’s research into the era not only entertains but educates as well. You’ll come away with a wealth of knowledge about the medical profession of the time, and way more than you likely ever wanted to know about leeches.

The Apothecary’s Daughter is a five-star read. If you liked Klassen’s first book. The Lady of Milkweed Manor, then you’ll be sure to love this story just as much. And I, for one, am anxious to see what will next be traveling down the pipeline from Julie Klassen.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

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