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Blog Tour: Death of an Alchemist: A Bianca Goddard Mystery (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 2) by Mary Lawrence: A Book Review

02_Death of an AlchemistDeath of an Alchemist: A Bianca Goddard Mystery (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 2) by Mary Lawrence

Publication Date: January 26, 2016 Kensington Books Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages Genre: Historical Mystery

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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



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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


03_Mary Lawrence


     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


Giveaway


     To enter the Death of an Alchemist giveaway, please use the GLEAM form below. Four winners will receive a signed copy and the Grand Prize Winner will receive a signed copy plus a $15 Amazon Gift Card!

Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 1st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US addresses only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


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