Namaste. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.
Killing and secret-keeping had done this to me. It had begun to rot me from the inside out, and something inside meant to tear me open.
To me, the allure of history lay in the minutiae of life long ago, the untold secrets of ordinary people.
London grants little to women in need of tender care; instead, it crawls with gentlemen’s doctors, each as unprincipled and corrupt as the next. My mother committed to giving women a place of refuge, a place where they might be vulnerable and forthcoming about their ailments without the lascivious appraisal of a man.
Our brains are meant to identify breaks in a pattern. We evolved that way, many millions of years ago. You are not searching for a thing so much as you are searching for an inconsistency of things, or an absence.
You must trust your instinct more than your eyes.
Magick and disguise may achieve the same end, but I assure you, they are very different things.
The life of an apothecary is a strange, solitary one.
You can be anything you want in London. Nothing great awaits you in the farm fields. The fences would have kept you in, as they do the pigs and as they’ve done to me. But in London? Well, in time, if you are clever about it, you can wield your own power like a magician. In a city so grand, even a poor girl can transform into whatever she desires to be.
The best apothecary was one who knows intimately the despair felt by her patient, whether in body or heart.
Heartache is shared by all, and favors no rank.
The things a person most wanted to say were often the things they should keep tucked away inside.
It is the most distressing thing, to issue pain to someone, even when you know it is for the best.
The world is not kind to us ... there are few places for a woman to leave an indelible mark.
I did not set out to brew poisons. It is not as though I came from the womb a born killer. Something happened to me, long ago. I was in love once, you see.
Vengeance is its own medicine.
Every woman has faced a man’s wickedness to some degree. Even you [...] I am an apothecary, and it is my duty to dispense remedies to women. And so over the years they have come to me, and I have sold them what they wish. I have protected their secrets. I have borne the brunt of their burdens.
It is a strange puzzle. For as much as I have worked to fix women’s maladies, I cannot fix my own. My grief has never gone away, not in twenty years [...] For this kind of pain, no such tincture exists.
Was it selfish to put our own happiness before the needs of another human being, one who didn’t even yet exist?
The curse of magick, they believe, is that for every reward, there is a great loss. For every spell that goes right, there is something else - in the real, natural world - that goes terribly wrong.
Why did we go to such lengths to protect the fragile minds of children? We only robbed them of the truth - and the chance to grow numb to it before it arrived with a hard knock on the door.
If there was anything that the last few days had taught me, it was the importance of shining new light on old truths hidden in dark places.
I’ve learned more about our marriage while apart from you than I ever did when we lived under the same roof.
If there’s one thing I do know, it’s the importance of chasing dreams. Believe me, if you want something different, the only person holding you back is you.
History doesn’t record the intricacies of women’s relationships with one another; they’re not to be uncovered.
The unknown had once been an unpleasant concept to me, but I realized now the opportunity in it. The excitement in it.