The Apothecary | Maile Meloy

Over the past week or so I’ve dipped in and out of a number of books only to feel disappointment and even worse, boredom!

So I made a promise to myself – from now on I would only read the books that grabbed me, shook me up and took me for the ride.

So I put aside ‘Why We Broke Up’ by Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket (I loved the illustrations and the idea behind the book, but I just couldn’t get into the mood.) And picked up The Apothecary instead.

I had read rave reviews about it at Christmas time, but it had somehow ended up on the bottom of my pile of TBR’s. I fished it out in high hopes of a good read.

I lucked out! This was a wonderful read. Rich, complex and magical.

It starts as an interesting historical fiction.We see post war USA under the full misery of McCarthyism. We meet Janie and her parents who are TV producers, mixing with the stars of Hollywood. Naturally they come under suspicion and have to flee to England.

In London we meet Benjamin and his dad, the local apothecary. Janie starts a new school and her parents start working for the BBC. So far, so normal.

But just like Harry Potter, this normal world is challenged by mysterious happenings. Benjamin’s dad goes missing, they discover magical potions and we enter a secret world of spies, double agents and mad scientists. It all happens so logically and naturally that, just like Harry Potter, you believe it is possible and that this is the way the world really works!

This is definitely a book that takes you for an exhilarating, delightful ride, with characters you will love and a desire to visit again soon.

A must read for anyone over the age of 11!

It’s 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows—a fascinating boy who’s not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy.

When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies—Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.

One thought on “The Apothecary | Maile Meloy

  1. I read many rave reviews on blogs about this book too, but hadn't seen it anywhere in Australia. Great to know that it's here. Oh, I just checked and my library is processing their copy. I'll have to keep it in mind.


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