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Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

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Reader Reviewed
The Pharmacist's Wife by Vanessa Tait

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Oh my, this is a fascinating, darkly powerful novel with biting attitude, set in Victorian Edinburgh. In the laboratory above a newly opened pharmacy, a wonder-drug is created, as the pharmacist experiments, his wife of six months discovers a world she couldn’t have imagined. Kindness and love sit at the very heart of this novel, however light can be so easily doused, and a bleak and twisted shadow menaces the pages. This may be a blistering Victorian drama, yet the characters feel so very real, their thoughts and feelings could easily be exposed today. Vanessa Tait writes with a provocative, combative pen, my mind flinched, my heart ached, and yet hope existed within the very centre of my being. Raw, elemental and disturbing, The Pharmacist’s Wife is an entirely captivating, enthralling read - highly recommended. ~ Liz Robinson

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also luckyenough to read and review this title. You can click here  to read the full reviews.

  • Jane Brown - 'Victorian Edinburgh not as one would imagine Victorian society. Pharmacist with dreams of curing his wife "hysteria" with the new chemical wonder drug heroin- this opens Pandora’s box.'
  • Charlotte Walker - 'A strong story that is enticing from the start and tells a tale of addiction and desire in the Victorian Edinburgh. Lightly sprinkled with historical detail and overall a great read. Would recommend.'
  • Catherine Bryce - 'A brilliant story from beginning to end covering a wide variety of genres for readers.'
  • Heather Byrne - 'The Pharmacist's Wife is a gripping tale of drugs, passion and a woman's fight against oppression.'
  • Julie Watkin - 'Prepare to immerse yourself in Victorian times and live amongst the daily trials faced by Rebecca Palmer, a woman who on the face of things should be happy, but definitely isn’t.'
  • Liz Stein - 'A thrilling, dark and well written psychological study into drug addiction set in Victorian Edinburgh.'
  • Rebecca Cockeram - 'A compelling, brilliantly written book that feels very apt for the current climate, exploring feminism without being preachy. I loved it.'
  • Alfred Nobile - 'A Edinburgh of gas lamps, horse drawn trams and carts. The atmosphere this author has conjured up is magnificent. You live in Edinburgh of the mid 1800's and savour every moment.'
  • Nicola Cooper - 'A tale of Life in Edinburgh in the mid 19th Century.'
  • Kerry Bridges - 'Rebecca is indeed a feisty young woman and Alexander is truthfully highly unpleasant. There are, however, no depths to their characters and in actuality I didn't really care much for either of them.'
  • Manisha - 'Didn't want to put it down in the end.'
  • Peter Mynehan - 'Accurate reflection of attitudes of times gone by and an entertaining read.'

Win Books from the Manon Bradshaw Thriller Series!

Persons Unknown, the second book in Susie Steiner's crime thriller series, is now out in paperback and to mark the publication we are giving away paperback copies of both Missing, Presumed and Persons Unknown to THREE lucky winners!

To have a chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 30 April 2018. The winners will be notified by 14 May 2018,

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 30/04/2018


The Pharmacist's Wife by Vanessa Tait

Love. Desire. Vengeance. A deadly alchemy.When Rebecca Palmer's new husband opens a pharmacy in Victorian Edinburgh, she expects to live the life of a well-heeled gentlewoman. But her ideal is turns to ashes when she discovers her husband is not what he seems. As Rebecca struggles to maintain her dignity in the face of his infidelity and strange sexual desires, Alexander tries to pacify her so-called hysteria with a magical new chemical creation. A wonder-drug he calls heroin. Rebecca's journey into addiction takes her further into her past, and her first, lost love, while Alexander looks on, curiously observing his wife's descent. Meanwhile, Alexander's desire to profit from his invention leads him down a dangerous path that blurs science, passion, and death. He soon discovers that even the most promising experiments can have unforeseen and deadly consequences...

Reminiscent of the works of Sarah Waters, this is a brilliantly observed piece of Victoriana which deals with the disempowerment of women, addiction, desire, sexual obsession and vengeance.


A captivating book.... It is a story that is both whimsical and disturbing. -- Lady Review for THE LOOKING GLASS HOUSE

Tait's engaging novel... is sensuous and lyrical.-- Sunday Telegraph Review for THE LOOKING GLASS HOUSE

Moving and original -- Kate Saunders, The Times - Review for THE LOOKING GLASS HOUSE

About the Author

Vanessa Tait

Vanessa Tait grew up in Gloucestershire. She went to the University of Manchester and completed a Master's degree in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College. She is the great-granddaughter of Alice Liddell, the little girl who inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Looking Glass House is her first novel, inspired by family treasures and stories of the 'original' Alice.

Click here to read an 'Ask the Author' interview with Vanessa Tait.

Author photo © Gareth Iwan Jones

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Book Info

Publication date

5th April 2018


Vanessa Tait

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Atlantic Books


400 pages


Historical Fiction
Thriller / Suspense
Romantic Fiction

Historical romance
Thriller / suspense



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