There is a romantic quality to this fantasy that is subtle but ever-present and works well for this story.
Oddly enough, I had just finished another mystery in which an immortal apothecary was seeking a book of ancient writing that provided the secret to immortality when I started this book. It wasn’t an intended synergy but the similarities in stories actually helped me enjoy this book just a little more, I think.
In Victorian England, physician Simon Bell and the apothecary Gaelen Erceldoune create a potion meant to cure the cancer in Bell’s wife. Instead it kills her. Bell, distraught, drinks the remainder of the liquid, hoping to kill himself, but in fate’s cruel irony, it instead gives him an everlasting regenerative power and makes him immortal. Later, Bell learns of a man with unusual recuperative powers and, upon discovering Gaelen, knows that his one chance at dying lies with Gaelen’s ability to decode the book. But the book is missing.
Fast-forward to the present day, with Gaelen now a rare and antiques book seller in Chicago. Just as had happened in the Victorian era, someone has come to suspect that Gaelen has unique abilities of self-healing. And with modern abilities to search historic records and to do DNA testing, it is harder and harder for Gaelen to hide. But because he’s being suspect for his regenerative healing abilities and even being suspect as having a long history, the book he’s spent multiple lifetimes searching for comes to his attention. But does the woman he possesses the tome know what she has? Is she a distant relative? What is her true reason for seeking Gaelen out?
Author Barbara Barnett has put together a delectable mystery with a form of urban fantasy attached to it. I enjoyed my trip here and I would enjoy reading more about Gaelen and his search for knowledge.
Looking for a good book? The Apothecary’s Curse by Barbara Barnett is a very satisfying mystery/fantasy that will make you believe the potion for eternal life exists.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Apothecary’s Curse
author: Barbara Barnett
paperback, 340 pages