"Boys in Our Books"…

…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!

REVIEW: “The Apothecary’s Garden” by Julie Bozza


Hilary Kent, a Londoner all his working life, retires to Wiltshire after an estranged cousin unexpectedly leaves him an inhabitable tower surrounded by an overgrown physic garden – and that’s when graduate student Tom Laurence suddenly erupts into his life, convincing him that together they can restore the ancient garden to its former glory. Tom’s cheerful friendship is the best thing that’s ever happened to Hilary and he’s perfectly content with that until, to his astonishment and confusion, it seems that Tom’s affection for him is beginning to grow into something more … something he feels he probably shouldn’t allow.


I liken this book to a couple of my partner’s friends; they are lovely, thoughtful, kind, intelligent, well rounded and have lots of other positive attributes – but they bore me to fucking tears.

So without further ado…

I’ll start by clarifying two things: firstly, I adore May to December romances but despite this I felt this was too slow to hold my attention probably because it was too polite and too unbelievably quaint.  This story is not about unbridled passion or devastating angst. It’s not about two people burning the sheets with their love. It’s about two people who have a deep commitment to each other; two people who’ve found their ideal companion and love. And secondly, I’m in the vast minority with my reaction to this book.

So these were my reactions:

If Hilary and Tom had one more cup of fucking tea I was going to murder someone. *pass me a beer.

I’m well aware that expecting Tom and Hilary to behave like stereotypical “blokes” is stupid.  Men can drink tea and eat scones and still be robust examples of masculinity right?  Well, yes of course, but they just seemed odd, or too pleasant to me.  Odd and pleasant aren’t bad things to be but… And of course men don’t have to be masculine either… But I digress, this is a book review and not a discussion focussing on gender stereotypes. My bad.

If they held hands and petted each other one more time I was going to scream. *where was the fucking passion?

I’m also aware that not everybody likes to “do it like they do on the discovery channel” but come on, liven-the-fuck-up fellas! It’s obvious that this story is not about eroticism, but more so about their connection but… zzzzz.  Sex and intimacy was mentioned but… zzzzz

“You look utterly delectable, of course, my dear, but we’re receiving a delivery at ten.  Will you mind getting dressed by then?”

I was worried that any sex scenes would eventuate with more evidence of well mannered genteel behaviour. And they did.

If they said please and thank you again I was going to glass someone *cut to the freaken chase!

Then at one point, Hilary felt poorly that he wasn’t helping Tom; so here is the interaction which ensued:

“I’ll tell you what,” Tom continued, coming back to sit by Hilary at the table.  “If we have a spare day or two at some stage, you can help me pull my bibliography together.  It’s the sort of thing I always have good intentions about updating as I go, but of course it always gets forgotten along the way.”  “Oh, I’d like that,” said Hilary, rather more cheerfully.

Um, for reals?  If they have a spare day or two that can pull together a bibliography as a treat?  Oh COME ON!  I love nerds.  Really, I do, but this was too much. I was sure they were about to schedule a date in the form of compiling an Excel spreadsheet documenting The Manor’s light bulbs.

The last chapter was pretty gut wrenching though, so I was on the edge of my seat there… but the last paragraph? That was a let down despite saying the things we wanted to hear… It felt like Bozza just tacked that on in a wild dash before handing it to her publisher.

Obviously The Apothecary’s Garden is not meant to be any of the things I was looking for, so the joke is on me – but I was so bored, I wanted to cry.  I can see why everyone adores it because it’s lovely and gentle and very sweet, but yeah not for me.

P.S. Also, all those exclamation marks!  All the time!  Drove me crazy! ;)



Susan – 4 Stars

Ami – 4 Stars


17706669Title:  The Apothecary’s Garden
Author:  Julie Bozza
Pages:  278
Release Date:  May 1st 2013
Purchase Links: Amazon Manifold Press ARe

19 comments on “REVIEW: “The Apothecary’s Garden” by Julie Bozza

  1. I felt the same way about the tea and politeness. And about the book as a whole. You guys should review Albert Sterne! (Or have you already?) That’s a masterpiece by Bozza.


    • Sue
      January 4, 2014

      Rebecka, I wonder if you’re setting me up for failure… Is i Albert Sterne fairly similar to this one? I imagine it’s still Bozza-esque ;)


  2. Ami
    January 3, 2014

    “but I was so bored, I wanted to cry.”

    There there, Sue *pats Sue in the back*. You need something wit high adrenaline then to make up for this one.


    • Sue
      January 4, 2014

      I wonder if I should have made that one line, “I was so bored, I wanted to cry” as the whole review.


  3. Pingback: THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN | Manifold Press

  4. Pingback: reviews: The Apothecary’s Garden | Julie Bozza

  5. Pingback: reviews: The Apothecary’s Garden | Libra-Tiger

  6. CC
    January 3, 2014

    The appeal of Bozza’s writing escapes me, frankly, and that includes her fanfic, too. This book was interminable. (I LOVE May-December relationships, so I took a shot. Someday I really will learn my lesson and just pass.)


    • Sue
      January 4, 2014

      You and me both CC, you and me both.


  7. shelley
    January 3, 2014

    Oh dear. I think you need something with a kick arse Assassin or three huh?


    • Sue
      January 4, 2014

      Shells, you know me so well ;) xoxo


  8. Sheri
    January 3, 2014

    Oh Sue!
    *passes large frothy brewski*
    I love this review and I KNOW this book is not for me.


    • Sue
      January 6, 2014

      but Shez, both Susan and Ami gave it 4 stars. Odds are that you’ll enjoy it. In fact, I dare you to read it and prove that I’m a mean old cow. ;)


      • Sheri
        January 6, 2014

        Ugh, this one is big time May-December romance, right?


  9. ilhem3606
    January 3, 2014

    I understand you so well!
    Sorry that it didn’t work for you Sue.


    • Sue
      January 6, 2014

      Thanks Ilhem. :)


  10. Kaje Harper
    January 4, 2014

    And that’s why more than one M/M author can find an audience – tastes vary. :)

    I really liked this one a lot – for me this was a slow, lovely and magical story of two seemingly-incompatible men falling in love. The age gap is huge – Tom is a graduate student in his twenties while Hilary is retired and in his sixties. But the author was able to portray this as a meeting of minds, and then of bodies, with real desire alongside the love.

    But then I love a slow unfolding of a relationship, so her style works for me.


  11. Sue
    January 6, 2014

    You’re so right about varying tastes Kaje and I hope that I conveyed that I can see what so many others LOVE about this book – and yet it didn’t work for me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on January 3, 2014 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Sue and tagged , , , , .

Follow Us On Twitter

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



%d bloggers like this: