The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

I truly enjoyed this book. It's set in the 1950's amid the proliferation of nuclear weapons globally, and Mcarthyism in the USA. Janey's parents accept a job in Britain to avoid being called up in the communist witch hunt of the era. 

At school she connects with Benjamin. When his father, the local apothecary, disappears, he leaves The Pharmacopoeia, an ancient text filled with recipes for magical/scientific potions, in Benjamin's care. What ensues is a mad adventure as the two, soon joined by Pip, a bit of a street urchin, test out some of these concoctions on their mission to rescue Benjamin's father. In the process they get tangled up with spies working for nefarious global powers. Can they save the world from the consequences of a nuclear bomb? 

I love the way history is so seamlessly integrated into this novel. I love that the author combines magical aspects with almost plausible scientific rational. I love the characters. Thanks to the students who have been pestering me to read this book and thank you Maile Meloy, for a fabulous read! 


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