Des[s]erted Reads: The Apothecary by Maile Meloy July 27, 2018 – Posted in: Uncategorized – Tags: , , , , , ,

Des[s]erted Reads is a monthly blog feature here at CBAY Books where we highlight an unread book on our bookshelf and pair it with a dessert recipe! This month we’re highlighting The Apothecary by Maile Meloy.

The Apothecary by Malie Meloy

October 2011, Penguin (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Time spent unread on bookshelf: 7.5 years

It’s 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows—a fascinating boy who’s not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies—Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.


I got an ARC of this book at the Texas Library Association Conference in 2011. For whatever reason it kept getting pushed farther and farther down on my bookshelf. I did a big purge of my books and got rid of a ton of ARCs, but The Apothecary made the cut to stay on the shelf every single time. I loved the cover and have always loved the idea of apothecaries, so that’s probably why. And I’m glad I kept it around! I loved the concept and the story and Janie was a great character. I was excited to find out it was a series (as are a lot of the books I’ve been reading for the Des[s]erted Reads series!) so I’ve ordered the other two and plan to read them ASAP.


I’ve paired this book with one of my favorite cookies recipes. Not only is is my favorite, it’s also the easiest with literally four ingredients and is gluten free!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter (1 cup =16 tablespoons)

1 cup sugar (I sometimes use 3/4 of a cup if I’m trying to be “good”)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and and mix (I use a hand mixer as the peanut butter can be hard to mix by hand). Portion out into 2 tablespoon balls and place on a cookie sheet, squishing the top with a fork. Since there’s now flour in the recipe they won’t rise. Cook at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. Let cool completely on a cookie sheet and enjoy! Yields approximately two dozen cookies.

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