Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Review: The Apothecary's Daughter

The Apothecary's Daughter. By Julie Klassen. 2009. [January 2009] Bethany House. 416 pages.

I remember it clearly, although it was years ago now. For I remember everything.

I just loved Julie Klassen's first novel, Lady of Milkweed Manor. The Apothecary's Daughter is her second novel. While set around the same time period--Regency England--this second has quite a different feel to it. In a way. Though is it really fair of me to try to compare and contrast every little thing? I don't know.

Did I love The Apothecary's Daughter? Not nearly as much as Lady of Milkweed Manor. But. I still enjoyed it. What is it about? Well, it's about a young woman, Lilly Haswell, the daughter of a village apothecary. She's quite talented--or gifted--with the trade herself. She helps her father out even though that isn't quite the thing. Her brother, Charlie, isn't quite right. Oh, he's lovable enough--kind enough, compassionate enough, but he's a bit on the slow side. So in a way it is up to Lilly to take care of him, to take care of her father, to take care of everybody. But all this putting-others-first doesn't leave all that much time for taking care of herself. She's grown up--at least the past few years--wanting oh-so-much-more out of life. Wanting to have a big, grand adventure. Well, maybe not quite an actual adventure, but one of the heart perhaps?

Is it a romance? Yes and no. It is oh-so-much-more than a romance. As a romance alone I found it slightly disappointing. If that makes sense. (I don't know that it will.) As a romance, Klassen kept me guessing right until the end. There were so many would-be, could-be suitors that could have turned into "the one." I was never quite sure who to cheer for. There were several men actually that caught my eye. But as a romance it was never fully developed.

But as a historical I thought it worked rather well. It was a unique story, a fascinating one. I'd never given much thought to the history of medicine. OF the natural competition that existed between medical doctors and the practicing apothecaries.

So I'd definitely recommend it.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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