The most recommended apothecary books

Who picked these books? Meet our 14 experts.

14 authors created a book list connected to apothecary, and here are their favorite apothecary books.
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What type of apothecary book?



By Peter Cawdron,

Book cover of Apothecary

Douglas Phillips Author Of Quantum Space

From the list on hard science fiction published this century.

Who am I?

As a scientist, I love hard science fiction, especially when the story makes me think about the true nature of reality or takes me on an adventure to places unknown. We’ve all read the classics from Clarke, Heinlein, Bear, or Asimov. But books written decades ago are becoming increasingly dated as society progresses into a new century. (Will people of the future really chain smoke? And why are all the characters men?) Never fear, modern hard sci-fi is alive and well. Here are five recent books that tell an intriguing, uplifting, or awe-inspiring story. Even better than the classics, it’s hard sci-fi for the 21st century!

Douglas' book list on hard science fiction published this century

Why did Douglas love this book?

Peter Cawdron has written a whole series based on various first-contact scenarios, each an independent novel.

Apothecary is one of my favorites. Set in 16th-century England, it follows a young apprentice named Anthony, who works at a London apothecary (a pharmacy). When his blind friend Julia is accused of witchcraft and set to burn at the stake, Anthony seeks help from a member of the aristocracy who harbors a deep secret about her arrival in this medieval land.

The story is accurate, fascinating, and fun, as superstition and primitive technology clashes with advanced alien science. But like all Peter Cawdron stories, at its heart Apothecary is a story of characters struggling to do what’s right.

Dragon Soul

By LJ Swallow,

Book cover of Dragon Soul: A Reverse Harem Fantasy Romance

Laurie Bowler Author Of The Realm of Witches

From the list on fantasy you will get lost inside of.

Who am I?

I especially love reading fantasy stories and stories based on actual historical events. I've been an avid reader since I was a little girl; while my siblings were playing outside or inside with toys I was the one sat curled up in the corner reading. I've also worked hard and gained qualifications in creative writing. I've also had a passion for writing and have written my own fantasy novels; being an author is simply amazing because you can create characters that are unique and special as well as true to life, plus you get to create worlds that are entirely different to our own. 

Laurie's book list on fantasy you will get lost inside of

Why did Laurie love this book?

This is a box set containing the complete Daughter of Shadow series. Four full-length books filled with spellbinding fantasy romance. The Daughter of Shadow series is a slow-burn and slow-build romantic fantasy that will have you on the edge of your seat sometimes. This is absolutely perfect for those who love reading about unique worlds combined with supernatural creatures such as elves and dragons. This series will draw you into a fantastic world of pure fantasy featuring strong, fiercely protective men who will do anything for the story's heroine, who just so happens to be the centre of their world. The story's heroine is a strong, mighty, magical woman who is a well-written and relatable character. 

By LJ Swallow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dragon Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sorceress with dark magic who’s a threat to the kingdom. Three powerful men from the royal courts sworn to protect her. And a pet dragon with a secret.

The dragons are dead, the Ebon Queen has destroyed the elven realms, and the courts are at war. The queen’s dark magic is growing in strength, and the kingdom is losing the battle against her. Three men are sent from the Silvercrest stronghold to seek others who can aid their cause.

Leander, a high-ranking and domineering High Lord. Rohan, a fierce and seductive knight of the realm. Galen, a deceptively gentle…

Death's Detective

By Charlotte E. English,

Book cover of Death's Detective

Audrey Driscoll Author Of The Friendship of Mortals

From the list on giving reality a supernatural twist.

Who am I?

In 1998, I met H.P. Lovecraft's corpse-reanimating doctor, Herbert West. I found him intriguing, but HPL's story didn't tell me enough about what lay behind his bizarre interests. Why did his friend help and support him? To answer those questions, I wrote four genre-blending novels, of which The Friendship of Mortals is the first. Through West's librarian friend, Charles Milburn, I explore their friendship, the choices they make, and how they deal with the consequences of those choices. The setting is a college town in early 20th century New England, but with a supernatural twist.

Audrey's book list on giving reality a supernatural twist

Why did Audrey love this book?

At first, I thought this was a historical mystery similar to the Sherlock Holmes stories. Nineteenth-century city, maybe in Russia? But what about the weird Bone Forest and the house on stilts? The detective, Konrad Savast, carries out his investigations in distinctly unorthodox ways. Then there are his spirit-serpent helpers, Eetapi and Ootapi. Sherlock never had anything like them! And in addition to the four mysteries to be solved in this book, there's the question of Konrad's relationship with apothecary Irinanda Falenia. Will it ever develop into something more than friendship?

By Charlotte E. English,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death's Detective as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To catch a killer, send a monster.

There's a realm. Wreathed in ice and snow, drowning in the dark, Assevan needs a different kind of hero.

There's a god. Merciless and cold, and quick to anger, the Lord of the Dead insists upon one thing only: vengeance for a murdered soul.

And there's a man. A ruthless killer, Konrad is detective, judge and executioner in one. Dauntless, relentless, monstrous, he stands alone against the dark.

Meet the Malykant. Justice will be served.

Four cases. Four killers. Four executions. Dark fantasy and murder mystery collide in this first collection of the…

The Apothecary Rose

By Candace Robb,

Book cover of The Apothecary Rose

Rosie Lear Author Of A Quenchless Fire: The Second Sherborne Medieval Mystery

From the list on historical detectives exploring fact and fiction.

Who am I?

As a great reader from birth, I love books. I am a retired teacher of English literature and love history, particularly the medieval period, inspired by my love of Chaucer. I found my chosen authors entertaining, informative, and able to lead me into my happy place, unaware of my surroundings whilst reading. I read very fast, however, and none of them write fast enough for me so I started to write my own books. Words have the power to move, to excite, to console, to entertain. I hope anyone reading my chosen list will enjoy and may feel like exploring my own books.

Rosie's book list on historical detectives exploring fact and fiction

Why did Rosie love this book?

Set in Medieval York I loved the detail of life in this book. The passion of Lucie Wilton, the apothecary’s wife is apparent and very real. Her anguish at his death and her guilt over her love for Owen Archer, her assistant incite pity and hunger in the reader. It taught me to try and include small details in my own writing and to make my characters come alive as Candace Robb does. I was truly hungry for the next book...and the next...and the next!

Owen Archer became a real fictional hero of mine.

By Candace Robb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Apothecary Rose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This mystery in medieval England is “suspenseful, historically accurate, and blessed with a wonderful cast of characters . . . An absolute delight” (Charles de Lint, author of the Newford Series).
It is Christmastide, 1363, and two suspicious deaths in the infirmary of St. Mary’s Abbey catch the attention of the powerful John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. One victim is a pilgrim, while the second is Thoresby’s ne’er-do-well ward, both apparently poisoned by a physic supplied by Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton.
In the wake of these deaths, the archbishop dispatches one-eyed spy Owen Archer to…


By C. Vonzale Lewis,

Book cover of Lineage

Marlena Frank Author Of The Seeking

From the list on dark fantasy with unique monsters.

Who am I?

I love reading about monsters as much as I love writing about them. Unfortunately, it also means I’m super picky about the dark fantasy I read. These authors don’t disappoint. Dark fantasy is a genre that I continue to return to, whether it’s aimed at teens or adults. I’ve had to deal with many monsters in my life and I understand that they can take many shapes and forms. These books are some of the very best I’ve read and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have. 

Marlena's book list on dark fantasy with unique monsters

Why did Marlena love this book?

Talk about intensive world-building, Lewis takes the cake with her impressive magic and gruesome villains in her novel, Lineage. Nicole Fontane, our protagonist, drew me in with her rage against corporate smoke and mirrors. Then came the incredible magical systems and magic users. And then on top of that, there are deities walking the very earth. Every time I thought it couldn’t get more intense, it did, and it’s a heck of a dangerous ride along the way.

By C. Vonzale Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lineage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fusing magick and ominous secret societies, Lineage is the perfect fantastical mystery for fans of Dan Brown and Shayne Silvers.

Smart-mouthed Nicole Fontane has a way of getting herself into trouble.

She’s been fired from every job she’s had but still refuses to work in her father’s apothecary shop because of his practice of Earth Magick.

On Tulare Island where Nicole grew up, Magick has always been a way of life—one she’s determined to avoid at all costs. With less than two hundred dollars in the bank and rent due, Nicole is forced to take a job at Tribec Insurance…

The Apothecary

By Maile Meloy, Ian Schoenherr (illustrator),

Book cover of The Apothecary

Suzanne Myers Author Of Stone Cove Island

From the list on secret societies.

Who am I?

I’ve never belonged to a secret society, but I’ve always been drawn to the idea. When I wrote Stone Cove Island, I was thinking about secrets passed down between generations of the islanders, and I liked the idea that even within, but I liked the idea that even within this tiny community, there was an inner circle of people invisibly controlling things. I’d heard a story from a friend—and it might just be a story, but I’m not the only one who’s heard it—about a rich, private island where if you did something to displease the residents, they sent you a black sweater. No note. Just the sweater. The message was clear: time for you to go.

Suzanne's book list on secret societies

Why did Suzanne love this book?

How I wish I could read this one all over again for the first time. I can’t, but you can! In this semi-magical spy thriller, 14-year-old Janie is suddenly forced to move to London from Los Angeles with her family, where she fits in badly in her new school as the awkward American. She’s quickly drawn into a secret network of spies – mostly of the amateur variety who, thanks to an ancient book of potion recipes, can do all kinds of things, like turn into birds.

By Maile Meloy, Ian Schoenherr (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Apothecary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dose of magic could save the world . . .

Fourteen-year-old Janie Scott is new to London and she's finding it dull, dreary and cold - until she meets Benjamin Burrows who dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin's father, the mysterious apothecary, is kidnapped he entrusts Janie and Benjamin with his sacred book, full of ancient spells and magical potions. Now the two new friends must uncover the book's secrets in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies - Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons.

Beautifully written and expertly…

Beloved Poison

By E. S. Thomson,

Book cover of Beloved Poison

Kim Taylor Blakemore Author Of The Companion

From the list on gothic novels for a cold winter’s night.

Who am I?

I’m addicted to Gothics. It started with reading Jane Eyre as a teenager. Gothics have it all – crime, mystery, secrets, lies, atmosphere, dread. I love history, particularly the stories of women’s lives. These are found not in textbooks but unearthed from more private and arcane places – diaries, mill worker records, letters, tintypes. I’m also drawn to writing dangerous women, those who live at the margins and need all their wits to survive. They don’t always stay within the law, and they aren’t always the heroine. I’m the author of The Companion, After Alice Fell, and The Deception (out in October 2022) - historical thrillers with a quite Gothicky edge. Naturally.

Kim's book list on gothic novels for a cold winter’s night

Why did Kim love this book?

Jem Flockhart is an apprentice apothecary at St. Saviour’s Infirmary in London. The building is falling down around the patients. The doctors hate each other. Jem finds six tiny coffins in the crumbling dank chapel – and a murder mystery begins. This book pulled me right into the dark rancid squalor of gaslit London and doesn’t shy in its horrific details. It’s dark, it’s atmospheric, it’s an amazing read. So glad it’s the first in a series!

By E. S. Thomson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beloved Poison as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ramshackle and crumbling, trapped in the past and resisting the future, St. Saviour's Infirmary awaits demolition. Within its stinking wards and cramped corridors, the doctors bicker and backstab. Ambition, jealousy, and loathing seethe beneath the veneer of professional courtesy. Always an outsider, and with a secret of her own to hide, apothecary Jem Flockhart observes everything but says nothing.

And then six tiny coffins are uncovered, inside each a handful of dried flowers and a bundle of mouldering rags. When Jem comes across these strange relics hidden inside the infirmary's old chapel, her quest to understand their meaning prises open…

The Lost Bookshop

By Evie Woods,

Book cover of The Lost Bookshop

Mary Cay Ricci Author Of Mindsets for Parents: Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in Kids

From Mary's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Educator Reader Lover of all children

Mary's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Mary love this book?

True confession:  I am a sucker for any book that has the word “Bookshop” in the title. (Yep, I know it’s a personal issue). This may sound confusing, but it’s not: there are two timelines and three characters narrating their story: Oppaline (1921), Martha (present-day), and Henry (present-day). Both Oppaline and Martha have faced major challenges in their lives.

It is a magical book about a Bookshop that once stood on a street in Dublin that seemed to have vanished. 

The book is engaging, enchanting, and at times sad. I continued to think about this book long after I was done and plan on reading it again! 

One of my favorite lines in the book is, “The thing about books is that they help you to imagine a life bigger and better than you could ever dream of.”

By Evie Woods,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost Bookshop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Echo of Old Books meets The Lost Apothecary in this evocative and charming novel full of mystery and secrets.

'The thing about books,' she said 'is that they help you to imagine a life bigger and better than you could ever dream of.'

On a quiet street in Dublin, a lost bookshop is waiting to be found...

For too long, Opaline, Martha and Henry have been the side characters in their own lives.

But when a vanishing bookshop casts its spell, these three unsuspecting strangers will discover that their own stories are every bit as extraordinary as the ones…

The Lost Apothecary

By Sarah Penner,

Book cover of The Lost Apothecary

Alison Ragsdale Author Of The Child Between Us

From Alison's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Dog mum Walker Foodie Traveler

Alison's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Alison love this book?

This book kept me engaged when I was stressed and feeling guilty for reading anything other than my own work in progress. It gifted me with an escape each night, which was therapeutic.

The seamless transition between eighteenth-century London and the present day was masterful, and I was equally invested in both casts of characters and storylines.

I particularly loved the mysteriously dark nature of the original apothecary shop, and the final twist that brought the two tales together was cleverly done.

By Sarah Penner,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Lost Apothecary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Hello! magazine,, Bustle, Popsugar, Betches, Sweet July, and GoodReads!

March 2021 Indie Next Pick and #1 LibraryReads Pick

“A bold, edgy, accomplished debut!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised…

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

By Penelope Lively,

Book cover of The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

Griselda Heppel Author Of The Fall of a Sparrow

From the list on ghost stories.

Who am I?

I write adventure and mystery stories for children aged 9 - 13, involving battles with mythical creatures, dangerous pacts with demons, and other supernatural chills. My first book, Ante’s Inferno, won the People’s Book Prize and a Silver Wishing Shelf Award. For The Fall of a Sparrow, I drew on my love of ghost stories, not just for their scariness but also for their emotional complexity: ghosts don’t haunt just for the sake of it. They need something only the main character can give. Friendship, perhaps, a companion in their loneliness… or something much darker. Here’s my choice of classic stories in which ghosts pursue a wide – and sometimes terrifying – variety of agendas.

Griselda's book list on ghost stories

Why did Griselda love this book?

What I love about the ghost story genre is how it can lend itself to comedy as well as spookiness. Here the plight of poor James, moving to a new house only to find himself seized on as Apprentice to ghostly 17th century apothecary Thomas Kempe, is irresistibly funny. No one will believe it’s not him scrawling advertisements for ‘Sorcerie, Astrologie, Geomancie, Alchemie, Recoverie of Goodes Loste and Physicke’ on notice boards outside his house and all over the village. Lively’s accurate use of 17th century English heightens both the humour and historical realism in this beautifully written book. 

By Penelope Lively,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ghost of Thomas Kempe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic ghost story from Penelope Lively, one of the modern greats of British fiction for adults and children alike.

James is fed up. His family has moved to a new cottage - with grounds that are great for excavations, and trees that are perfect for climbing - and stuff is happening. Stuff that is normally the kind of thing he does. And he's getting blamed for it. But it's not him who's writing strange things on shopping lists and fences. It's not him who smashes bottles and pours tea in the Vicar's lap. It's a ghost - honestly. Thomas…