Over the past week or so I've dipped in and out of a number of books only to feel disappointment and even worse, boredom!
So I made a promise to myself - from now on I would only read the books that grabbed me, shook me up and took me for the ride.
So I put aside 'Why We Broke Up' by Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket (I loved the illustrations and the idea behind the book, but I just couldn't get into the mood.) And picked up The Apothecary instead.
I had read rave reviews about it at Christmas time, but it had somehow ended up on the bottom of my pile of TBR's. I fished it out in high hopes of a good read.
I lucked out! This was a wonderful read. Rich, complex and magical.
It starts as an interesting historical fiction.We see post war USA under the full misery of McCarthyism. We meet Janie and her parents who are TV producers, mixing with the stars of Hollywood. Naturally they come under suspicion and have to flee to England.
In London we meet Benjamin and his dad, the local apothecary. Janie starts a new school and her parents start working for the BBC. So far, so normal.
But just like Harry Potter, this normal world is challenged by mysterious happenings. Benjamin's dad goes missing, they discover magical potions and we enter a secret world of spies, double agents and mad scientists. It all happens so logically and naturally that, just like Harry Potter, you believe it is possible and that this is the way the world really works!
This is definitely a book that takes you for an exhilarating, delightful ride, with characters you will love and a desire to visit again soon.
A must read for anyone over the age of 11!