The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

I absolutely loved this book. Picked it up at the library just because of the author-I thought Paul would want to read this because he likes Meloy, and indeed he did.  Then I read it and loved it, and passed it on to Mom, who also loved it. There-that’s three people loving this charming adventure-fantasty-interestingly historical novel –wouldn’t you like to read it to?

I found the time period really interesting-set in the early 50s an American girl and her parents abruptly move to London because, as screenwriters, her parents are about to be called up to the McCarthy hearings as possible Communists.  In London they must adjust to British life-cold, a small flat, uniforms, etc.  Janie meets an interesting boy at school and then finds out that he is the son of the local apothecary.  It’s hard to explain what happens next. Basically, the boy and Janie find out his father isn’t just a drugstore owner, but from a long line of true alchemists who can make things happen with the right plants and so on.  Furthermore, this knowledge has been sought by bad people for thousands of years.  In this time of the Cold War the alchemists band together to try to use their knowledge to fight against the development of nuclear war.

It’s a really interesting blend of history and fantasy and I found the whole thing utterly charming, as well as quite exciting.

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