The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Benjamin is coming of age in post-war London, the son of an apothecary, and his life is sketched out for him. He will be a boring, dusty, old apothecary just like his father. It is as unavoidable as it is undesirable.
Janie is happily doing her own growing up in Los Angeles, the daughter of two elegant, fun and creative Hollywood writers. “The war was over and the bad guys had lost. A golden era had begun,” or at least it seemed so at first. Then the entire world shifts once more. Allies become enemies and there is war in a place called Korea. There is talk of nuclear bombs and something called a cold war that seems to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. When Janie is followed home from school by men in a black sedan, the family’s once carefree and idyllic life comes to an abrupt end as they flee to London.
Boy meets girl and together they discover that Benjamin’s father may not be as old, dusty and boring as they had thought, that a world of spydom, espionage and magic lies right at their front door and that alchemy and adventure await!