The Alchemist’s Daughter
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“Readers . . . will most likely be eager to read future Bianca Goddard adventures.”
Estranged from both her father, an infamous alchemist, and her abused mother, Bianca Goddard scrapes by in a highly violent and extremely poor part of London. Naïve and yet independent she supports herself by employing a combination of alchemy, inherited knowledge from her father, and herbal remedies, a knowledge learned from her mother, to create and sell medicinals to the other unfortunate residents of Southwark.
Bianca is abruptly cast into life and death situations when she gives her friend Jolyn her remedy for stomach cramps. She is aghast when Jolyn suddenly drops dead. Although she knows that her medicine did not poison Jolyn, Bianca fears she will be arrested for murder. She must find the truth before that happens. Curiosity and a keen mind for the scientific method compel her to fiercely pursue all unexpected, twisted clues in order to vindicate herself and expose the true murderer.
With the law breathing down her neck, she frantically attempts to stay one step ahead of a tunnel-visioned Constable Patch as she pieces together evidence that will ultimately prove her innocence. Relying on her wits and the unsought help from her friends–John, who loves her, and Meddybemps, a vendor of her medicinals–she finds the actual murderer and, in the process, reveals dark, damning family secrets which have been hidden for over twenty years.
Thorough research allows Mary Lawrence to reach deep insights into the seedier side of Tudor London with rich descriptions of characters and locales. The author’s use of timely colloquial language reflects that harsh economic period in which the common people attempted to survive. Readers of this novel, the first in a trilogy of Bianader, will most likely be eager to read future Bianca Goddard adventures.
Reviewer: C. L. Collins