The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Bethany House / 2009
About the book:
Lillian Haswell, brilliant daughter of the local apothecary, yearns for more adventure and experience than life in her father's shop and their small village provides. She also longs to know the truth behind her mother's disappearance, which villagers whisper about but her father refuses to discuss. Opportunity comes when a distant aunt offers to educate her as a lady in London. Exposed to fashionable society and romance--as well as clues about her mother--Lilly is torn when she is summoned back to her ailing father's bedside. Women are forbidden to work as apothecaries, so to save the family legacy, Lilly will have to make it appear as if her father is still making all the diagnoses and decisions. But the suspicious eyes of a scholarly physician and a competing apothecary are upon her. As they vie for village prominence, three men also vie for Lilly's heart.
Having read one of Julie Klassen's newer books, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, last year (loved it!) and hearing great things about The Apothecary's Daughter, I had high expectations going in. While I did really enjoy some parts of this book, I was disappointed in the last portion.
I can't really put my finger on the exact reason either. While Lilly didn't end up with the guy I had hoped in the beginning, I was actually happy with who she did end up with, so that wasn't it. I'd say my main disappointment was how rushed the ending seemed. I was left wondering about quite a few things and I just wish things would have been explained a little more. Also, I wish it wouldn't have taken so long for Lilly to decide on a beau. The wondering of who it was going to be got a little tiring to me.
Don't get me wrong, The Apothecary's Daughter was still a good book and I know lots of people loved it. I have really mixed feelings and struggled with what to rate it. I wasn't sure whether to give it 2, 3, or 4 stars, because I really enjoyed parts, but other things were just okay. In the end, I decided to go with 3 since I did overall like it.
Lilly was a nice main character, although she did annoy me slightly when she seemed to look down on certain people (though she redeemed herself in the end). I really liked Charlie and Mary. I was surprised by many things that happened in The Apothecary's Daughter - it had some definite twists.
All in all, a nice one-time read. I'm glad I read it. As I said earlier, I know lots of people loved The Apothecary's Daughter, so I may have had too high of expectations. I know Julie Klassen writes great historicals, so I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.
*I did not get this book for review. I read a Kindle copy I had. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*