Friday, January 2, 2009

The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

Lilly Haswell remembers everything- whether she wants to, or not...
Rated: 4 stars
In the village of Bedsley Priors, Lillian Haswell is known by all as the apothecary’s daughter; intelligent and dutiful; she assists her father in nearly every aspect of his profession. From growing herbs to prescribing certain remedies, to running errands for him. Mr. Haswell is full of regret that his son Charlie cannot follow in his footsteps, but young Charlie is a bit slow. Instead he must rely on his daughter. While Lilly has a knack of remembering everything and is gifted in the field of medicine, she dreams of traveling, seeing the world- but most of all, finding her mother. Years prior Mrs. Haswell left her husband and children, promising to return, however she never did. So when Lilly’s aunt and uncle invite her to stay in London with them, she believes that her dreams are becoming a reality. Nearly two years pass when she is called home. She finds her home in disarray, her father ill, her brother working elsewhere and their own little shop closed. Despite her yearning to go back to London, Lilly does her duty and works diligently to bring their apothecary’s shop back to it’s former glory. What follows, I never would have guess, but I’ll not spoil it for you.
After reading Klassen’s former novel, "Lady of Milkweed Manor" I was eagerly awaiting her next work and was not left disappointed. While I still prefer "Lady of Milkweed Manor," "The Apothecary’s Daughter" claimed my attention from morning to late afternoon, until I finished it. Lilly was an engaging heroine; bright and intelligent. The only disappointment that I felt was that her father hadn’t realized what a jewel he had for a daughter until almost the end. Of course one must keep in mind that this story is based in the Regency Era and that the medical profession was forbidden to women. I was completely surprised by the author’s choice in who Lilly ended up with. I was certain it would be once character and it turned out to be someone completely different. Another shock was the secrets behind Mrs. Haswell’s disappearance and Mr. Haswell’s own past. I promise you, like Klassen’s other book, you won’t finish this story without tears.

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