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Hartselle Enquirer

Books of the week of April 6

Title: “The Magdalen Girls” 
Author: V.S. Alexander

Set in 1962 Dublin, this is the story of the Sisters of the Holy Redemption convent – otherwise known as the Magdalen Laundries – the place where the “fallen” girls are sent.   

Prostitutes and unwed mothers are the type of women most people think live there, but in reality, the only sin these young girls are guilty of is being too headstrong, too pretty or too tempting to men.  

Teagan is sent to the Magdalen Laundries based on a lie told by a priest – killing any chance that people would believe her.   

There, she meets and befriends two other girls, Nora and Lea, who help her plan an escape.  

When you are forbidden to talk and you have all personal items stripped from you, including your own name, it’s hard to find the resources for escape. Teagan notices the older girls seem hollow and knows it’s just a matter of time before she also becomes dead to her surroundings.   

She must get out of this prison, but how?  And where could she go if she did escape? No one wants to have anything to do with a “Magdalen girl.”   

This novel is based on true stories told by survivors of the numerous Magdalen Laundries in several countries over two centuries. This book is available to check out at WBH Library and on the Libby and Hoopla apps.  

Book: The Lost Apothecary 
Author: Sarah Penner 
Reading Level: Adult

In 1791, Nella owns a well-hidden apothecary shop in one of the dark alleys of London. Her shop is only known to women who need her services. The service she provides is undetectable poisons to kill the men that are harming women. She only has two rules. The poison is never to be used on a woman and the killer must write their name and the victims name in her ledger. Her secrets seem to be well kept. But, murder has a way of catching up to you. 

In present-day London, Caroline Parcewell finds herself walking alone after learning of her husband’s infidelity. During her walk, she discovers a vial of poison from 1791 that traces back to the still unsolved “apothecary murders.” As a historian, Caroline sets out to discover the secrets of the apothecary. Although, she might not survive unearthing people long forgotten secrets. 

This book is the perfect blend of historical fiction and mystery. It will keep you at the edge of your seat. This book can be found in the Library, on Hoopla, and on Libby.