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Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Apothecary's Daughter

The Apothecary's Daughter delights the senses.

I love the design of this book, which makes a change from headless women or vast expanses of flowing skirt. It is nicely designed inside too, with well-chosen period typography for the title pages and a good clear readable font.

You would not think London in the time of the plague would be good material for a romantic novel, but Charlotte Betts pulls it off superbly. The book tells the tale of Susannah, who, after the re-marriage of her father to the shallow and demanding Arabella, is forced to leave her erstwhile home to find marriage herself. As in all romances, the path of true love does not run smoothly, and in Charlotte Betts's novel, there are obstacles aplenty - not least her new husband, Henry Savage, who turns out to have quite a few secrets Susannah doesn't know about. The novel does not shirk from portraying the harsher realities of everyday life in the 17th century - slavery, the non-participation of women in society, and these aspects add depth to the story.

Unlike many other sketchily researched romances, this one really deserves the title "historical romance" as both aspects are in perfect balance.Vivid and engaging, the research is thoroughly done and succeeds in giving us an insight into this neglected period of English history, with all the smells of the apothecary's trade, the sage, the turpentine, the juniper. If you are looking for a cracking good story, and to be transported to another age, you really can't beat this.


  1. It is fabulous. I read it on kindle and must have the book as this novel features in my PhD thesis as successfully mingling romance and realism in romantic historical fiction.It is original, characters are faithful to the period as far as one can be writing now and remain engaging and her description of London du ring the plague year is pitch perfect. Graet cover, fabulous writer

  2. Yes, I loved it, and your PhD sounds great.Has it got a title?