Thursday, October 23, 2008

Review: The Apothecary's Daughter

I am an unashamed Jane Austen / Regency Era addict. So, when I read Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen a number of months ago, I brought a discerning Regency eye to the writing. And I was definitely not unhappy with what my Regency-trained eye found. In fact, I was addicted. When the advanced reader copy of Klassen's forthcoming title arrived on my desk then, I picked it up immediately.

Julie Klassen's second "Riveting Regency", The Apothecary's Daughter, continues on her exploration of working-class 19th Century England. Lilly Haswell is a thoroughly likeable character, understandably torn between the life she knows with her tradesman father and developmentally delayed brother and her aspirations to find a life of something more, as offered to her by a wealthy aunt and uncle.

The unique glimpse provided into the 19th century world of medicine and the life of a working class family is well done. Klassen has obviously thoroughly studied her subject (and acknowledges this in the Author's Note), and uses detail to create a great sense of authenticity. Of course, a number of twists and turns in Lilly's complicated love-life ensue, and an enjoyable romance is woven throughout the larger story. However, the full story line intimates that Regency life was not all balls and gowns and garden parties, but full of the same life choice issues common to all people of all generations.

The cover copy tells us that The Apothecary's Daughter is a story with 'fascinating historical detail and vivid characters' and I would happily agree. I was not disappointed.
*Note: there were a few titles called "Apothecary's Daughter" when I searched - this review references only the title authored by Julie Klassen.

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