The first feeling I had when I read The Lost Apothecary – exceptionally mature. I never felt this way before with any other book, judgment was nowhere present. Yes, there was right and wrong and yes there was ugly and beautiful. But it was all built up in the cycle of karma in a matter-of-fact way. The actions you take, the decisions you make, will all end up in a situation. However, none of them makes you a good or bad person. I love the unfailing support each character had from the author as if they were all loved dearly.

An extraordinary tale about the lives of ordinary women, be it the Nella’s dreary, the budding promise for Eliza, Caroline’s haunting present, or the manifested life of Gaynor. Women were the bane and the blessings, and the anchor for the story. Wasn’t the author stressing the whole time, how the lives of forgotten people fascinated her? Finally, it ended up alluring me as well. History is not just about the famous names, but of the countless commoners who all lived the fascinating life curve. Every step we make changes history by a bit, the way Eliza’s mistake or Nella’s revenge did. Every experience we face moves us towards a crossroads of heaven and hell. Love the way this contradiction was shown through Nella and Eliza, Caroline and Gaynor. Eliza and Gaynor both embody ‘The road not taken by Robert Frost. And that made the difference in the end.

I was wondering the whole time, how the two worlds will come together. After watching so many Korean fantasies, a merging of the world wouldn’t have surprised me. But I am totally satisfied with the way it ended, just the way millions of lives of common women have ended in the present and past. Some ordinarily, some extraordinarily depending on what they believed in.

I knew I would like the book in the first few pages itself. It is a classic. My idea of classic literature is when you do not want to skip the pages but immerse in the web of imagination woven by the author. That is what books are for, to take you to another world. A surprising grasp of this essence of books by a budding author.

The only concern I had in the book, was that Eliza never sounded her age except for her confusion about the all-knowing facts of life. Her character would have been more authentic for me if she would have slipped sometimes into being a child. In Eliza’s character, I felt the author more than Eliza herself. Also, a little more than a hint was required on how Eliza escaped. The flight from realism to the magical road in the climax was too abrupt. Fortunately, magic happens in life, people even come back from death at times. But that part could have been fleshed out a little better. Apart from these minor flaws, I felt the book was a masterpiece. An incredible achievement, the first book turned out so well. I so look forward to her next.

Goodreads rating was 3.8 when I last checked. Guess the minor flaws turned major for a few. I recommend the book to those who want a good story to escape into, just like how Caroline escaped into Nella’s world. Once you are back you will surely appreciate your current life.

Tag: Books on my shelf


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