Tuesday 4 January 2022

The Apothecary's Curse

Finished January 3
The Apothecary's Curse by Barbara Barnett

This story has mystery, pain and suffering, romance, and friendship. Gaelan Erceldoune is an apothecary in Victoria London, working in Smithfield and helping the poor as best he can. He has a dedicated clientele who depend on him. But he is threatened by a man who controls much of the crime going on in his neighbourhood, and has isolated himself lately from his colleagues after the death of his wife and child. When a former acquaintance, Simon Bell, comes to him in desperation for a remedy for his wife's illness, he gives in and supplies a medication he has never created before. When it doesn't work as expected, Simon takes the remainder of the flask, and finds himself changed in an unexpected way.
When his world is destroyed shortly thereafter, and he becomes an object of experimentation in Bedlam, he nearly loses his mind. When Simon eventually learns of Gaelan's situation, he saves him, taking him into his own home, and requests a solution to the problem he himself now finds himself in. 
Revealing his own secrets, Gaelan and Simon join together to search for the book that Gaelan has been entrusted with by his father. 
By 2016, the two are still searching, and Simon follows every clue he can, growing ever more desperate. When Gaelan's actions put him in danger of revealing his secret to the world, he finds himself helped by a woman he never expected.
This is a story of cruelty, greed, and man's inhumanity to each other. But there are pockets of hope, of selflessness, and of true caring. It is a story of magic, but one less unbelievable than most. 
Gaelan is a man who loves strongly, and who cares not only about those close to him, but for all humanity, and his sufferings and resulting PTSD haunt him throughout his life. 
I found myself drawn into this book, not wanting to put it down, hoping that the characters would find some kind of happiness. 

1 comment: