The Alchemist's Daughter Paperback – 6 Sep 2006
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"Perfectly timed and modulated not only to draw us in and wring us out but also to reveal the spirit of a time." --"The Boston Globe" "Rich in period detail, this historical novel has all the right trappings." --"Daily News" "Beautifully crafted . . . lavishly furnished with period details and intriguing characters." --Diana Gabaldon, "New York Times" bestselling author of "A Breath of Snow and Ashes", "The Washington Post" "Evocative, compelling, and beautifully written . . . explosive secrets abound not only in the mysterious alchemy laboratory and in sprawling, seething London during the Age of Reason--but also in the heroine's heart." --Karen Harper, "USA Today" bestselling author of "The Last Boleyn"
A classic, page-turning story of secrets and science, passion and betrayal, innocence and experience - in the tradition of Tracy Chevalier and Philippa GregorySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Throughout we are on Emilie's side - sometimes she's foolish or naive, but she's always intelligent and strong with a passion for life. It is this, of course, that has her win through at the end.
The novel is beautifully written - a gripping story with crisp, evocative decsriptions. The setting reminded me of Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring, but Katharine McMahon's prose approaches the standard of Ian McEwan and Pat Barker. Highly recommended.
Behind her personal story run some important themes; the growth of science, the position of women in history, wealth, poverty and the slave trade. It is part of the writer's skill that she shows these things for us to think about, without ever lecturing.
The book also questions whether intellect can have a positive impact on humanity. Emilie has grown up, sheltered from the darkness of human life and has indulged only in the practices of alchemy. But clearly this is not enough to live a happy life and Emilie must learn herself - the hard way - of how to live and interact with people.
McMahon writes beautifully. The book was fluid and poised and was filled with a great mysterious atmosphere. You can practically smell the mustiness of Emilie's old alchemical textbooks!
However, the other characters were very well drawn and the relationship with her father poignantly evoked. McMahon convincingly conveys the chaotic 18th C world along with the various scientific advances and tackles issues such as women's roles and slavery without being preachy - altogether a good read but not the classic it might have been.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Took a bit of time to get into but really enjoyed it eventually, easy to read and an enjoyable storyline.Published 9 months ago by avril wright
A marvellous read , engaging, emotional, page turner. Following Emilie and her life with turns of a different corner, made me smilePublished on 10 Jun. 2013 by Tes
Read this after reading Rose of Sebastopol on Richard & Judy. In my opinion it's the better book.
Plenty of twists and turns with a real cad in Aislabie and an unusual... Read more
Having enjoyed the Crimson Rooms by this author I thought I'd try another of her books.
Big mistake.... Read more