1665, Susannah Leyton has grown up behind the counter of her father's apothecary shop in bustling Fleet Street. A skilled student - the resinous scents of lavender, rosemary, liquorice and turpentine run in her blood - her father has granted her the freedom to pursue her considerable talents. But Susannah is dealt a shocking blow when her widowed father marries again, and her new stepmother seems determined to remove her from the apothecary shop for good.
A proposal of marriage from the charming Henry Savage seems to offer Susannah an escape. But as the plague sweeps through London, tragedy strikes, and dark secrets in her husband's past begin to unfold. It will take all of Susannah's courage and passion to save herself from tragedy....
I never tire of reading about this period in history in London. Charlotte Betts has given the events of London during the plague and Great Fire a new angle.
Charlotte weaves the story of a young woman who has great qualities both as an assistant to her Apothecary father, and also by her very caring nature and her empathy for people regardless of their social status. Susannah's personal struggles as part of a growing step-family and her decision to take an offer of marriage as her only option lead her into an unhappy situation that she feels bound to endure. Susannah shows great courage in helping others at great risk to herself.
From the first chapter, I immediately felt transported into the Apothercary shop and was intrigued by the craft of mixing lotions and potions for the treatment of ailments in the 1600's and the practises of doctors at that time.
The fear that was felt by Londoners, from all walks of life, during the Plague and the Great fire had me gripped as this story took the reader into the quarantined homes of those affected by the plague.
A detailed and beautifully written novel that will stay with me for a long while.
5 out of 5 for me. Oh wow! I loved it!
Review copy, many thanks