Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…
For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. But the next day his body is found and the journal is gone.
Bianca, the daughter of an alchemist, is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. When her husband John falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death is only the first in a series of murders—and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…
My Review: Ferris Stannum has made the Elixir of Life. His elixir can not only stop someone from dying but can give that person immortal life. He is about to send his elixir’s recipe to Cairo for verification when suddenly, before he can send it, he is murdered, and his recipe is missing. Bianca goes on a quest to find the journal to use the recipe to saving her ailing husband. While looking for the recipe, she soon finds she has to make a difficult choice. Should she use the elixir on her husband and make him immortal or leave her husband’s fate up to nature?
Bianca is a likable protagonist. She is practical and very observant. She has a passion for science and knowledge. She is also courageous and is a loyal friend. She also has a very compassionate nature. She is tough and can defend herself and others. She is very determined and refuses to give up when defeat seems to be staring at her in the face. When she decides to resort to using the elixir, she discovers the lengths she will go to keep her husband. While she does not want to lose him, she realizes that by making the elixir for her own husband, she is defying the laws of nature. Throughout the course of the novel, she is forced to make difficult decisions, and she is trying to determine what should be the right thing to do.
Overall, this book is about friendship, love, choices, and sacrifices. This book is very complex and relies heavily on the theme of nature vs man. The message of the book is to leave everything in nature’s hands, not man’s. The characters in this book are also very complex and they struggle with the same issue: should they leave it up to nature or should they defy nature and create their own fate? This book is very slow because it is more character-driven than plot-driven and the mystery is predictable, yet I found myself intrigued by Bianca and I wonder what choices she would make. I also like how it is set in Tudor London, and I found sixteenth century science to be fascinating. I recommend this book for anyone who interested in reading mysteries set in Tudor England and for anyone who enjoys stories about the question of fate versus choice.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Praise for The Alchemist's Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 1)
“A realistic evocation of 16th century London’s underside. The various strands of the plot are so skillfully plaited together.” —Fiona Buckley
“Mystery and Tudor fans alike will raise a glass to this new series.” —Karen Harper
About the Author
Mary Lawrence studied biology and chemistry, graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Cytotechnology. Along with writing and farming, Lawrence works as a cytologist near Boston. She lives in Maine. The Alchemist’s Daughter is the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery series For more information please visit Mary's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, March 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, March 22
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Guest Post at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Wednesday, March 23
Review at A Book Geek
Thursday, March 24
Interview at Books and Benches
Friday, March 25
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at The Book Connection
Monday, March 28
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne
Tuesday, March 29
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Wednesday, March 30
Review at A Holland Reads
Thursday, March 31
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft's Blog
Friday, April 1
Guest Post at Passages to the Past
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