Cover Image: The Apothecary's Garden

The Apothecary's Garden

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Member Reviews

I was not able to finish this book because of the poor writing and the storyline refused to grab me. I had high hopes and wanted to support a Canadian author but I just couldn't bring myself to finish this one. I did post about it on publication day, hoping there was a reader out there that's just been waiting for this kind of book. Unfortunately, I was not that reader.
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DNF - I was very enthusiastic about this book, the story was so promising. However, this was probably a case of the final product not being my cup of tea so, I am removing myself from the book reader's race.
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I did start the book, with the main character hustling to make ends meet with her exceptional floral arrangements. She's at the train station and the most interesting guests are coming off the train. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to finish this title before it was released.
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Lavender Fitch is struggling to get by in 1860’s Belleville, Ontario. Her father passed away and left her in financial trouble, so Lavender has to sell flowers and wares to eat. When oracle, Allegra Trout (and her companion Robert), visit Belleville, Lavender’s spirit’s lift and hope sprinkles in. Before her mother passed, she mentioned a nest egg somewhere, but Lavender can’t find it anywhere. Will her fortunes turn or will she struggle to survive?

I enjoyed that this historical fiction takes place in Ontario, as I recognized many locations that are mentioned. It was a nice change of pace to have a historical fiction that doesn’t centre around war. Lavender was such an interesting character and I was invested in her character early on. While I found the pace of this book slow to medium paced, I still felt pulled back to it to see what would happen next. It’s a charming, mystical historical fiction, which will be sure to warm your heart.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins Canada for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This genre is quickly becoming one of my favourites the combo of women's fiction with some magical realism just seems to hit the spot. I look forward to more from Jeanette Lynes in the future.

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review!
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Thank you NetGalley and Harper Collins Canada for this advanced copy. I really enjoyed this enchanting story. This book follows Lavender, a young woman in the 1860s, who inherits the family home and gardens when her father passes. To make ends meet she sells flowers from her gardens at a local market. One day a famous Medium, Allegra Trout comes to town with her handsome assistant Robert. Lavender is trying to find answers about her deceased mother and hopes Allegra can help, but as she gets closer with Robert she is left with more and more questions. 

This is a very character driven story and you really get to know Lavender well throughout. I enjoyed the mystery component of Lavender searching for a connection with her deceased mother and trying to find the treasure. The story is slow burning and I expected a bit more of a romance but I think the beautiful prose will be enjoyed by many who enjoy stories set in this time period.
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Set in 1860s Belleville, Ontario, this was a great historical fiction book about 28 year old Lavender Fitch, left alone after her parent's deaths with only their house, lavish gardens and a house boy for company.

Life in town gets more exciting when a famed Spiritualist, Allegra Trout arrives with her disfigured assistant, Robert. Lavender isn't able to resist falling under their charms and hopes to have Allegra help her contact her dead mother to figure out where she might have hidden a mysterious inheritance.

Rich in historical detail, this story has a great cast of memorable characters and I loved how independent and strong Lavender was. Using her skills and knowledge of plants and flowers, she is able to scrape by and ultimately ends up finding both love and career satisfaction in the town she loves.

Great on audio and and highly recommended for fans of books like The lost apothecary by Sarah Penner. Much thanks to NetGalley and Harper Avenue for an advance review copy!
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Thank you Netgalley and HarperAvenue for the chance to read an advanced copy of The Apothecary's garden by Jeanette Lynes. The description and the gorgeous cover is what drew me to want to read this book, especially as it is set in Belleville Ontario in 1860. Lavender makes her income selling flowers at the local market after her father, the local Apothecary passes away.  Lavender is close to losing her home, when a famous medium  and her assistant comes to town one day.  Hoping to find the nest egg her Mother had hidden Lavender pins her hopes on Allegra to contact her dead mother...but is she real, or a fake? While I enjoyed the story, I found the writing style too descriptive, and very slow. While some people like this style of writing, I do not.
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Thank you for my copy of The Apothecary’s Garden. I enjoyed reading about Lavender and her family. I especially enjoyed that it was based in Belleville.
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Set in Belleville, Ontario, Lavender Fitch struggles to survive selling flowers after the death of her father. After he squandered most of their money away, Lavender relies on the possibility of a secret stash her mother hid, and her resilience, to get through harsh seasons. When a famous medium visits the village with her assistant, Robert,, things may begin to change for Lavender.

Using floral and extremely descriptive language, Lynes paints a garden along with the story in each chapter. I personally found the descriptions too heavy and distracting from the story, but others may find it charming. For me, the joy was in the realistic and sometimes difficult description of life during Victorian times for everyday people. The harshness of climate particularly stuck out for me due to Lavender’s means of making money, and the adaptability required to persevere. 

But do not be mistaken, there is sunshine found in The Apothecary’s Garden. A romance blooms, friends are made, and spring comes again. It is always a joy to read tales from Canada, and if you’d like a relaxing read, this could be for you. 

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Canada for the ARC.
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3.5 - 4 stars

What a wonderfully strange story this was. The minute I heard about this book and discovered it was set in Belleville, Ontario - a place I’m extremely familiar with - I knew I had to read it. It was so much fun reading about familiar places and picturing myself wandering the streets with Lavender Fitch.

I was originally going to rate this book lower, but the more I thought about it, the more I realize I enjoyed it more than I originally thought. The pacing felt a bit off at times, and the writing was overly flowery and sometimes felt like it was trying too hard to sound poetic. However, I enjoyed various aspects of the book, like the glimpse of life in the 1860s, learning more about the language of flowers, and the hint of magic. I liked Lavender, and I appreciated how strong, resourceful, and tenacious she was in the face of so many obstacles. I also enjoyed the themes of connection, friendship, and the healing power of love. As someone who’s interested in spirituality and mysticism, I liked that aspect too.

Overall, this was an entertaining read, and I think lovers of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse at life in Belleville in the 1860s.
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“Your flowers steal my breath away, Miss Fitch!”

Immediately readers will be swept back in time to Belleville, Ontario in the 1860s. The rich atmosphere and sense of place and time will astonish you. Lavender Fitch, 28, takes her cart, ‘Beauteous Botanics’, daily to the train station selling her healing flowers and posies, hoping to make enough money to support her and her orphan charge, 15 year old Arlo Snook. Before her death, Lavender’s mother hid a nest egg to secure Lavender’s future, but it’s yet to be found! In the meantime, Lavender and Arlo endure a leaking roof and a meager sustenance. 

When a famous oracle and her partner come to town, everything changes for Lavender. 

I was fascinated with the portrayal of rural Canadian life in the 19th century, the language of flowers and the hints of magic! Lynes explores the definition of family and will leave you anxious to do some gardening yourself. The characters, like the setting, were expertly crafted and I loved that the ‘light’ was contagious, smiling as one good turn fostered another. 

I was thankful for an opportunity to read a book by a Canadian author and learn more about early life in my country. 

I was gifted this advance copy by Jeanette Lynes, HarperCollins Canada, HarperAvenue and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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Thank you NetGalley and Harper Collins Canada for this advanced copy!

I really liked this story! Lavender is a woman just trying to make ends meet with the skills her apothecary father and gardening mother taught her. When an oracle and her assistant come to town (set in Belleville, ON!) everything changes for Lavender. She hopes with the oracle's help she can uncover where her parents left their nest egg which would put food on the table and fix the leaking roof over her head. This story is full of loveable characters like Arlo and Sophie, Robert and Allegra, Dr. Minyard, and Dot Tickell. 

One aspect of the story that I really liked was how it showed the concept of creating your own family. Not everyone has to be a blood relation to be part of your family and Lavender created a group of her own. I also learned a new term: Floriography! The study of flowers and their meanings and symbolism.

This story will have you dreaming in blooms, and the cover will help with that, absolutely beautiful!
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Floral and poetic, The Apothecary’s Garden by Jeanette Lynes is set in 1860s Belleville, Ontario and centres around Lavender Fitch, a 28 year old spinster who is forced to scrimp and save every cent in her life after her father’s sudden passing, along with his beloved apothecary. All that Lavender has left is her family house and beautiful gardens. One day when a famous medium, Allegra Trout visits Belleville, the whole town falls prey to her mystical charms. Lavender concocts a plan to try and contact her deceased mother so that she may locate her hidden nest egg to secure her future. The trouble is, the medium’s assistant Robert is as intrigued by Lavender as she is by the famous duo and their paths cross in the most mysterious ways. Aided by the magic of Lavender’s flower garden, the local doctor, a strange artist, and fierce determination, Lavender unexpectedly finds the healing balm she never knew she was looking for. 

First off, I would like to share that I grew up and live nearby to Quinte West, Ontario and was absolutely delighted to read a story that takes place close to home. Belleville is one of the most charming towns in the province and it made the perfect setting for this enchanting story. I loved the bits of spiritualism and floriography that were woven throughout the story and the indomitable spirit of Lavender Fitch. Jeanette Lynes historical research is evident through the descriptive writing and atmospheric details of 1860s Ontario. With that being said, I wish the apothecary was incorporated a little more into the story and I wish there was a magical realism flavour as that would have made the perfect cup of tea for me. I also think there were some loose ends that were never quite tied by the end of the story. Apart from those critiques, I was absolutely smitten with this story and look forward to the warmer temperatures when I can get back into my own garden.

I will definitely be purchasing a copy once published and will be sharing it with my Belleville friends.

Overall The Apothecary’s Garden will delight readers who are fascinated by the secret language of flowers and the trials and tribulations of those trying to survive the harsh realities of the 19th century.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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