I received a free copy for my honest review.
About the Book:
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
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…
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.
This is the second book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery Series. Bianca is a very intelligent young woman, recently married to her love, John. They have known each other for a long time and he accepts her eccentricities. For Bianca is an alchemist of sorts – while she doesn’t pursue the darker side of the practice she does make what she calls medicinals and salves to help people with various problems. Her father is a somewhat notorious Alchemist but she has not seen him in quite some time as they don’t agree on many a topic. Including her marriage.
Bianca is working on a formula that could help with “the sweat” but she is having issues with her methodology. One of her friends directs her to another well respected alchemist so she heads off to see if he will teach her. She only gets to spend one day with him for when she goes to see him the second day he is dead! The coroner calls it a natural death but Bianca is not so sure.
There are several people who had cause to be angry with this Alchemist for he owed several people money and another was jealous but were any of them to the point that they would commit murder? Despite being warned away by the authorities and being told not to pursue an investigation by her husband, Bianca can’t seem to resist trying to find answers.
I did read the first book but for some reason never put a review up on the blog. It was a while ago so I can’t really remember much given how many books I read in a given year. While having read the first book certainly helped with name recognition I do believe that anyone could pick up this book and read it without a problem as a stand alone book. Given how long ago I read the first one and my laughable memory I was pretty much doing that anyway.
Ms. Lawrence is brilliant at setting her scenes which at times is downright unpleasant given that the book does not take place in the world of the upper classes but rather in the poor sections of Tudor London in the waning years of the reign of Henry VIII. It was not a place full of pleasing smells and happy scenes. But those descriptions are vital to the telling of the story and the writing is so descriptive you feel like you are there – stinks and all.
Where I ran into problems was when Bianca was running her experiments – it got a little too technical at times and I’m not sure it was necessary to the advancement of the story. The overall story was interesting and I enjoyed following along with her as she went from clue to clue to figure it out. She also had to deal with with her husband being very ill and none of her skills being able to help him.