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The Apothecary Rose by Candace Robb

The Apothecary Rose (1993)

by Candace Robb

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6372022,944 (3.65)24
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    A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (avalon_today)
    avalon_today: there is a lot going on in those Abbey's

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I found The Apothecary Rose interesting to read since it I'm not that used to read historical mystery books that take place in the 14th century. This mystery was especially interesting since it involves the church. John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York sends out one-eyed spy Owen Archer to find out if the two suspicious death at the infirmary of St. Mary's Abbeys are murders and if so who's behind it. Could it be the Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton or his wife? Or someone that works at St. Mary's Abbeys? Owen Archer takes a job at the Wilton's apothecary in a way to learn more, but the soon finds himself both in danger and in love.

It was a good book, but there were two things that just didn't work for me. First, the love thing, I was just not that interested in reading about Owen falling in love with Lucie, Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton wife. I would have preferred a slower approach to their growing fondness for each other, instead of dreaming about each other, and thinking about each other, looking longing at each other. Perhaps something growing more over time than during a book. I just didn't find that interesting and every scene that in any way was about their feeling just made me mentally sigh and hope the story would return to the crime instead. Sometimes love stories work for me in historical fiction/mystery and sometimes they don't. This time, it didn't.

The second thing was that it took forever to get somewhere in the book, at last it felt like that. It just didn't happen that much in the middle of the book after the interesting beginning and frankly I was not that surprising to learn who the culprit was. But I found the last part of the book interesting when everything started to come together and the truth about the deaths were revealed.

I would like to read more books in this series. Owen Archer was an interesting character and I enjoyed reading about crimes in the 14th century.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a blog tour at TLC Book Tours. ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
I would have given this first novel in the Owen Archer 4 stars, but sadly the lack of a final edit meant there were some silly annoying mistakes which kept appearing... best example is the use of the phrase "burn in hell" to curse an adversary, which actually appears in the ebook version as "bum in hell"... oh dear...

Will buy the second novel in the series to see how the characters develop... not as gripping as the CJ Sansom "Shardlake" historical novels, but a good introduction to a potential new series to read through this year. ( )
  RachelAmphlett | Jul 23, 2018 |
An enjoyable Christmas read. Owen Archer, wounded as a soldier, works for the Archbishop of York as a spy, and so seeks work with an apothecary to be better placed to investigate the poisoning of the Archbishop's ward in medieval England.

Atmospheric with a snowy, wintery backdrop. I do like a lot of historical detail, which was a little lacking here, except for the brandy wine which pops up practically every page, and the squabbles between Owen & Lucie were a little repetitive and manufactured as the couple fell in love. ( )
  LARA335 | Dec 28, 2016 |
An enjoyable murder mystery set in 1363 York. First book of the series based on the character Owen Archer. Some good early character development. Well worth a read if you enjoy historical murder mysteries. ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Jun 20, 2016 |
The Apothecary Rose is the first book in the Owen Archer series by Candace M. Robb. It takes place in York, England in the Mid 14th Century. I really enjoyed this book They are good mysteries and they really bring the past back to life. Owen was a good dependable man, and he made his own way in life. The second book should be just as good, but I suspect it will be quite a bit different because of the ending of this one!

Owen Archer, a Welshman had made his way up to Captain of Archers. But a kindness cost him an eye. While he was still a reasonable shot as an archer and his men would still follow him eagerly into battle, he felt it was the end of his military career. His master the Duke of Lancaster, disappointed not able to keep him as the Captain of Archers, convinced him to be trained as his spy. This included training in reading and writing and a host of other useful tasks.

After his training but before he was really challenged with his new duties, the Duke dies. Before he died, he asked the Lord Chancellor to look out for Owen. The Lord Chancellor had a ward who met an abrupt end. He asks Owen to look into it for him and find out what actually happened, since the boy was a bit of a cad, and might have created an enemy willing to murder.

Owen gets a post as an apprentice to an apothecary as his cover for the investigation. The post puts him with Lucie and Wilton. Lucie is Wilton’s wife and he just had a stroke which has kept him bedridden. Lucie was his apprentice closing in on becoming a Journeyman. She needs help but the guild couldn't find anyone will to apprentice their son to another apprentice and a woman at that. But Lucie has mixed feelings about accepting Owen, partly because he seems to see more than he should, even with just one eye, and Lucie knows some secrets that she can’t bare to see the light of day, The two also seem to be attracted to each other, even though Lucie is still married and both are trying to respect that relationship.

Two people die similar mysterious deaths, a third has fallen invalid. When Owen arrives more trouble comes up and the local Archdeacon had an instant dislike for for Owen and tries to get him out of the way. ( )
  readafew | Oct 19, 2015 |
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To Gen, who first got me to England;

to Jacqui, the apothecary; and

to Charlie, who always makes it so.
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Brother Wulfstan checked the color of his patient's eyes, tasted his sweat.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312953607, Mass Market Paperback)

Once the king's captain of archers, now he must penetrate a poisoner's secrets...

Christmastide, 1363-and, at an abbey in York, two pilgrims die mysteriously dead of an herbal remedy. Suspicious, the Archbishop sends for Owen Archer, a Welshman with the charm of the devil, who's lost one eye to the wars in France and must make a new career as an honest spy.

Masquerading as an apprentice to Apothecary Nicholas Wilton, whose shop dispensed the fatal potion, Owen's dark curls, leather eyepatch and gold earring intrigue Wilton's wife. But is this lovely woman a murderess? and what links the Wiltons to bumbling Brother Wulfstan, ascetic Archdeacon Anselm and his weaselly agent Potter Digby, and the ragged midwife Magda the Riverwoman? Answers as slippery as the frozen cobblestones draw Owen into a dangerous drama of old scandals and tragedies, obsession and unholy love...

The Apothecary Rose marks the arrival of a bold and quick-witted detective in this expertly detailed, engrossing tale of medieval life-and death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:00 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In the year of our Lord 1363, two suspicious deaths in the infirmary of St. Mary's Abbey catch the attention of the powerful John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. One victim is a pilgrim, while the second is Thoresby's ne'er-do-well ward, both apparently poisoned by a physic supplied by Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton. In the wake of these deaths, the archbishop dispatches one-eyed spy Owen Archer to York to find the murderer. Under the guise of a disillusioned soldier keen to make a fresh start, Owen insinuates himself into Wilton's apothecary as an apprentice. But he finds Wilton bedridden, with the shop being run by his lovely, enigmatic young wife, Lucie. As Owen unravels a tangled history of scandal and tragedy, he discovers at its center a desperate, forbidden love twisted over time into obsession. And the woman he has come to love is his prime suspect. Lovingly detailed, beautifully written, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is a captivating and suspenseful tale of life, love, and death in medieval England.… (more)

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