The Apothecary’s Daughter --- by Charlotte Betts. A novel of love and hope, a novel of loss and a novel of fear; a novel of melancholy and joy, this novel by a new writer tells of the story of Susannah the apothecary’s daughter who is cheated of all she deserves by a capricious, predatory step-mother who marries Susannah’s widowed father (presumable seen by the wicked step mother with three mouths to feed as a meal ticket) There is no room anymore for the apothecary's daughter it in smallish house now filled to over-flowing with three squalling brats and a step-mother who wishes Susannah were anywhere else but under the same roof with her. Susannah soon finds herself almost on the streets, adrift in a London of the 1660’s that places no value upon a learned and lettered woman --- that places no value on a woman at all unless she is wed. Other ingredients in this novel, and they are biggies: a surprise pregnancy to a woman whose own mother died in childbirth; the black death that carries away the unborn child’s father, Susannah’s own father, and Susannah’s only life-long friend. And as though facing these tribulations were not enough of a trial, in the end Susannah must face the Great London Fire of 1666. Suspense is palpable through this story. So are many other emotions. It would be a shame to consign this novel, just because the main protagonist is a woman, to the category of “chick lit”. This novel goes beyond that. It is a good story. It is a story you won’t be able to put down.
An enjoyable read. Gave a good idea of the social conditions of the time and the ending was....ohhhhhhhhh. Nice.
Enjoyed this book, the first I've read by this author - have just started in the follow-up, The Painter's Apprentice.
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