Book review: Alchemy’s Daughter by Mary A. Osborne

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“Brimming with details of life in Italy during the plague of 1348, this well-researched story incorporates historical information about medieval alchemy, midwifery, and the conflict between science and superstition, providing a rich context and arresting contrast 
for Santina’s thoroughly modern attitudes.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Book Description:  In medieval San Gimignano, Italy, daughters of merchants are expected to marry. But Santina Pietra cares only for Calandrino, a brilliant young scholar who is preoccupied with his ancient alchemical texts.

Soon Santina meets Trotula, the village midwife, who might or might not be a “strega,” a witch. Trotula challenges her to forget Calandrino and become the woman she is meant to be. Some say she is a victim of the midwife’s spell, but Santina is determined to follow in Trotula’s footsteps even as calamities strike. 

Where to buy the Book:     Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Book Depository

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Meet the Author:  Mary A. Osborne is the multiple award-winning author of Alchemy’s Daughter and Nonna’s Book of Mysteries. A graduate of Rush University and Knox College, where she was mentored in the Creative Writing Program, Ms. Osborne is a registered nurse and holds degrees in chemistry and nursing.  Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as Hektoen International, Newcity, and the Examiner.com. Ms. Osborne lives in Chicago.
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Connect with Mary:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter

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REVIEW:

The story in Alchemy’s Daughter takes place in the 1300’s where science, philosophy, superstition and church doctrine are at loggerheads. Our heroine, Santina, is the daughter of a cloth merchant whose curiosity in alchemy and philosophy and her own personal ambition soon lead her into opposition with her father. She becomes an outcast and begins to learn new skills, skills that can be used as a weapon against her. Her love of learning and experimentation soon place her in mortal danger. While this book can be classified as a historical romance, it contains a lot of interesting information about the development of early medecine, the black plague, hygiene and herbal healing remedies. The story in this book flowed smoothly and had several plot twists and surprises. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. This book would be enjoyed by both YA and adult readers alike.

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