Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Apothecary's Garden” as Want to Read:
The Apothecary's Garden
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Apothecary's Garden

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  272 ratings  ·  118 reviews
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 th ...more
Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Published September 7th 2017 by LIBRAtiger (first published May 1st 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Apothecary's Garden, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Julie Bozza Sorry for the belated answer! You're right: Silverseal is fictitious. After a visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden, I'd thought Goldenseal a good choice…moreSorry for the belated answer! You're right: Silverseal is fictitious. After a visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden, I'd thought Goldenseal a good choice for a rare plant which might be re-discovered in an old physic garden - but our fact-checker said it wouldn't have survived the years of neglect. My editor suggested we use a fictitious plant instead. It is unlikely (right again!) but then that's what makes it such a valuable find for Tom and Hilary. Thanks for asking!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  272 ratings  ·  118 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Julio Genao



it's exactly as charmingly english and delightfully dry as you'd expect. loads of humor and tenderness in the details, in the space where big shouty bon mots would go, but are not.

also: tea.


lots and lots of tea.


the story goes like this: (view spoiler)
4.85 stars
I need to collect my thoughts for a bit. I will say it's a most wonderful and romantic story. A beautiful dream.

Ever since I read the gorgeous Butterfly Hunter, I was desperate for another story from Julie Bozza. The coming release of The Apothecary's Garden was exciting news, but I was slightly disappointed when I found out it would be a May/December romance. Yes I am one of those readers where this theme doesn't work, usually. In most situations I find it hard to believe, that the re
Emma Sea
6 stars

Spectacular. Marvellous. Wonderful. The most acutely romantic book I've read in years.

Cried happy tears all the way through, and bought a Bach album.

Best of 2013 for me so far by a mile. I wish I could read it again for the first time all over again.

When I can arrange my brain into coherency I will write something slightly more informative about the multitude of exquisite things in Bozza's work.

Warning: Do not read at work. Repeat: do not read at work or lunch breaks. I am so grateful I
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: various-romance
Wow! This is quite brilliant. The May/December pairing doesn't usually appeal to me and luckily I didn't realise that was the theme of this novel because I might have missed out on reading it.

Sixty-something Hilary Kent inherits a run-down tower and overgrown garden in the English countryside. Just as he is settling in his life is disrupted by an enthusiastic history student who wants to write his thesis about the historic 'apothecary's garden'.

I loved Hilary with his knitted tea cosies, his ge
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Don’t overthink it.
Suspend some of what society tells you to believe and leave it at the door.
Let time and place fall by the wayside and read untethered.

…and be swept away by such pure and gentle and kind and enchanting love…just love…of 2…who cares their gender, their backgrounds, their age…

Oh this book.

It reads like a fairy tale…of a simpler time and a lovelier place. Of 2 men who could fall in love with each other despite a 40+ year age gap. Of a young man who sees the world through fascinat
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For this gem of a book I'll ignore my resolution not to post reviews here anymore because it deserves all the love it can get. Please bear with me for getting very personal in my review.

Some people might feel uncomfortable about the fact that one of the MCs is a 65-year old man and the age difference between the men and 42 years definitely IS a huge difference. They might wonder why such a wonderful young man would fall in love with a man who could easily be his grandfather and since the book is
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ingie by: Bev
Written August 29, 2014

4.2 Stars - Pleasurable in the gentle and compassionate

First of all, a heartfelt Thank You! to my (British) reading buddy Bev for the recommendation of this wonderful story (her 4.5 review). I enjoyed and had some pleasant hours with this garden and these two men. ~ You made it possible, Bev!
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos these tea drinkers!
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The Apothecary's Garden is a recommended read for those who want something a bit different than yet another up-to-date steamy M/M, in this tender contem
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone it beautiful
Recommended to Macky by: Vio's review
First of all I must tell you I was sat in bed at 3.30 am in the morning. In the dark, the only light the light of my kindle and I had tears rolling down my cheeks! Had something awful happened , was one of the characters dying of in incurable disease, had one of the MC's just cheated on his lover? No... I was crying at their first love scene because the love between these two men is so pure and so true that it made me want to weep. I said this about Butterfly Hunter, the first book that I read b ...more
This book is just so beautiful *dreamy sigh* ... Julie Bozza's prose flows easily, smoothly, dreamy, and oh, so romantic.

I think other reviews have presented more complete and thorough opinions about this. So I'm just trying to keep it short and focuses on my feeling.

At first, I think I am lucky that I have read my friends' rave reviews because I have prepared myself for the huge age-gap (42 years) that otherwise will not be my cup of tea. However, while I am reading this, the age gap seems to
Thanks to all my lovely friends who wrote all these lovely reviews and said what there is to say about The Apothecary`s Garden.
I agree with all of them - even with their small niggles - but I`m waving the white flag. It gets worse with every new book from Julie - reviewer`s-block! I want to happily float on readers`s cloud nine (just finished round three), without trying to bring my thoughts into coherency. This is my own private solitary cloud - just me, the book, and my thoughts and dreams.
Mandy*reads obsessively*
I bought the paperback of this book and took it with me to all my appointments and read it while I was waiting, which took a bit, but honestly, this book deserves the slow approach. It deserves to be savored and enjoyed, like a good cup of tea. Not rushed through.
Like Butterfly Hunter this is a slow meandering, flowing like a small stream, no big action or wild emotions. Friendship and then love develops between two men who at least at first glance are very different.
Hilary is a very quiet and

Between 3 and 3,5 stars.

This book is full of contradictions for me:

I liked it and the same time I ...don't know what to think about it.

The writing was beautiful. It was my first Julie Bozza and now I know what everyone means talking about her AMAZING writing style. The woman can write, no doubts.

I enjoyed her writing. On one hand.

On the other hand...It was static. Can I use this word talking about someone's writing?! Never mind, I did it already. I don't know if it was the matter of a d
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-5-stars
3.5 stars

Once again Bozza does not shy away from a difficult topic. This time it is love across a big generational gap. So big a gap that I immediately said, nah this will not work. But Ms Bozza loves to prove me wrong.

Her exploration of the relationship between Tom and Hilary became my exploration. And like any explorer I discovered lots of no go areas in me. Areas, which needed an airing and are much fresher now, all because of her. For at the end of the day why should love be limited by wha
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bev by: Vio's review
Buddy Read with my lovely Tina...thank you sweetie. This one gets 4.5 stars from me and

OK, another difficult review to write. First of all, let me say that I did enjoy this book....just not as much as Butterfly Hunter. The narrative once again was superb...the author certainly has a knack for language and settings (Wiltshire is a lovely county, full of history), and you seem to almost go into a trance-like state, being drawn into the setting of the book, and into the lives of it's characters.

Kaje Harper
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. Part of what makes it work is the character of Tom, a young man of stubborn determination, great vision, and enthusiastic passion for every good thing in his life. Where Hilary is ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tina by: Macky

The Apothecary's Garden belongs to those stories you won't forget.

It's about 65 years old Hilary, who retires from London to Wiltshire after a cousin leaves him a tower and an overgrown physic garden. 23 years old Tom convinces him to restore the ancient garden to its former glory. Tom's friendship is the best thing that has ever happened to Hilary but then Tom's affection for him is beginning to grow into something more…

"You've got great hands, you know... I love watching them make tea, and h

“A loving relationship doesn't have to last forever to be perfect.”

This is my third book by Julie Bozza and I haven't expected it to be so very different from the other two.

I loved the idea of such a great age difference between two men, and I could feel every Hilary's emotion and sympathise with him easily. But I couldn't quite understand when and how has Tom fallen for him. In fact, being as suspicious as I am, I kept expecting the other shoe to drop, such as Tom having an ulterior motive w
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
25th August
Buddy read with Isabel, Ingela, Eva,Sofia, Irina and Lena!

Ms Bozza writes characters that are so human that you know them and fell in love with them! The book is really beautifully written. The prose is exquisite, its like a fairy tale story !! I'm basically just a hopeless romantic with a dirty mind... but theres NO dirty here only romance...

About large age differences between partners, my opinion is: you simply fall in love!! And if love knocks on you door, you better be ready to gr
A.B. Gayle
Apothecary’s Garden is a story about nature, but it is the nature of love.It is also very much the story about the relevance of age.As befitting something told from the viewpoint of a sixty-five year old Englishman, the pace at the start is slow, the writing almost tangled, like the old overgrown garden which had been choked by ivy with the narrative winding around seemingly endless consumption of cups of tea and digestive biscuits.Unlike Butterfly Hunter where the Australian references had hoo ...more
Ije the Devourer of Books
This story has a very different feel when compared to other m/m romance stories. It is genteel and warm and very pleasant. It evokes in me the kinds of feelings I had when enjoying summer time as a child. Don't get me wrong, there is emotion and anxiety in this book but it is just presented differently and this is what makes this book so beautiful.

Normally the books I read in the m/m genre are full of action: police, army, cowboys, detectives, soldiers, marines, globe trotting business men, fire
I had no issues at all with the age gap between Tom and Hilary and found their devotion and love for one another simply endearing. I haven't read any May-December romances before and if anyone has any recommendations, please pass them my way!

He thought that, if he were especially careful with it, if he nurtured it and didn't wear it out, that moment might see him through decades of loneliness.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It started off promising but somewhere along the line it just bored me to tears. DNF.
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. Just everyone.
Recommended to AnnaLund by: Con Riley
What can I say? This book is still with me, the writing just went right into my soul, slow and steady, just burrowed in to stay.

I can perhaps say as Hilary himself was thinking:
"He was breaking the habits of a lifetime. It was enough to make a man giddy with delight."

Yes, giddy with delight. How very appropriate. Absolutely. Exactly. Me, too, Hilary! Me, too!

This book is made of soft-spoken awesome. Yes, it is a relationship that you do not encounter everyday. And No, it didn't turn me off. And
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to R.B. by: Vio
This was my first Julie Bozza’s book.

Some time ago I avoided reading her book about two men searching for an unknown species of butterfly (probably thinking that it would be boring... silly me) and what happened? Few days ago I started reading her book about two men restoring old medicinal garden *lol* Thanks Vio for pointing out that I SHOULD read it.

I loved this book though I am not very fond of May-December romances. It was beautiful, romantic and quiet tale.
Tara♥ {MindforBooks}
You know when you are having a crap week, work is horrible, people are just melting your head and you feel as if you are so stretched to capacity that a meltdown is imminent? Everything is going wrong and you feel a bit helpless? You know those kinds of weeks?

We all have them and this week I had one, things just don’t seem to be going right for me and by the end of the day every day this week I've been feeling a bit battered but every evening I went home, did what needed to be done, lit my cand
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julie Bozza has one of the most beautiful writing styles that I ever read! Everything is described with care, the characters built with love, and the story always so captivating and lovely! Not that I've read all her books, but all that I've read left me smiling and happy!

The Apothecary Garden is also a beautiful and lovely story! Hilary and Tom have a very unusual but sweet relationship!

This is not he kind of book that keeps me "high", I like hotness, I like dirty talk and bold characters! Tho
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comfort-reads
I was hesitant to read this book as I wasn't sure that the huge age-gap would be something I want to read about. But somehow this book called to me, so with the outlook of meeting the author next week in Manchester I gave it a try and I'm so glad I did it! It's a wonderful book with two wonderful MCs and it's a joy to read about their developing relationship. Even for me, although I have no real interest in plants and gardens besides 'yes, looks nice', this was entertaining, never boring despite ...more
4.5 stars, rounded up for sheer romantic loveliness. This is another quiet-yet-riveting story from Julie Bozza. I adore May-December romances, and I probably won't find another age difference quite as dramatic as this one. The relationship strained the bounds of credibility (Tom is all earnestness and exclamation points, and Hilary is restrained and formal), but it's beautiful nonetheless.
« previous 1 3 4 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Gaudete
  • The Tin Box
  • Gumption & Gumshoes
  • The General and the Horse-Lord (The General and the Horse-Lord #1)
  • Whitewater
  • Stories Beneath Our Skin
  • Above All (Jasper Swinton, #1)
  • Cricket
  • Thorns
  • The Art of Touch
  • Going Up
  • Bodies in Space
  • Sock it to Me, Santa!
  • Three Traders (Falls Chance Ranch #2)
  • Something Different
  • Running Far Afield
  • Slam!
  • The Tail of a Dog
See similar books…
Ordinary people are extraordinary. We can all aspire to decency, generosity, respect, honesty – and the power of love (all kinds of love!) can help us grow into our best selves.

I write stories about ‘ordinary’ people finding their answers in themselves and each other. I write about friends and lovers, and the families we create for ourselves. I explore the depth and the meaning, the fun and the po
“Hilary took a moment to rest careful fingertips against his cheek, reliving the sense–memory of Tom’s lips against his skin. He thought that, if he were especially careful with it, if he nurtured it and didn’t wear it out, that moment might see him through decades of loneliness.” 3 likes
“Hilary was gobsmacked. "There's forty–two years between us!"

Tom seemed infinitely cheered for some reason. "Forty–two, eh?" He added with a wink, "The meaning of life!"


"Never mind. Obscure cultural reference."

Which was almost exactly Hilary's point. "You mean it's something only another young person would understand."

Tom had the grace to wince a little. "Not necessarily."

"I could be your grandfather!" Hilary protested.

"Well, fine! But I'm glad you're not”
More quotes…