In the spring of 1725, when Emilie is eighteen, father and daughter begin their most daring alchemical adventure of all - an attempt to breathe life into dead matter. But their work is interrupted by the arrival of two strangers, one a researcher into the life of plants, the other a dazzling young merchant.
Dark secrets haunt the manor house at Selden in Buckinghamshire, where Emilie Selden, motherless, fiercely intelligent and more beautiful than she realises, has been raised in near isolation by her father. John Selden, student of Isaac Newton, is conducting a bold and secret experiment. He aims to turn Emilie into a brilliant natural philosopher and alchemist. Secluded in his ancient manor house, with only their two servants for company, he fills her with knowledge and records every step she takes. In the spring of 1725, when Emilie is eighteen, father and daughter begin their most daring alchemical adventure of all - an attempt to breathe life into dead matter. But their work is interrupted by the arrival of two strangers, one a researcher into the life of plants, the other a dazzling young merchant. During the course of a sultry August, whilst her father is away, Emilie is caught up in the passion of first love and, listening for the first time to her heart rather than her head, she makes her choice...with consequences that are far-reaching and tumultuous.
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'This is an intelligent portrait of England in the early 18th century, as experienced by a remarkable young woman.' -- Kate Saunders THE TIMES 'What makes The Alchemist's Daughter more than a routine entertainment is McMahon's vivid sense of both the natural world and of the smells and illuminated darkness of Selden's workroom. We believe in Emilie and come to love her for all her follies, because she is so passionate in her experience of the world around her.' -- Roz Kaveney THE INDEPENDENT 'McMahon has given us a first rate historical romance: it's hard to think it will be bettered this year.' -- Lesley McDowell THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'McMahon writes seriously and well, and conveys the disjunction between knowing something scientifically and knowing it emotionally. This is familiar material, but McMahon handles it with intelligence.' THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 'The Emilie we relate to is passionate and modern. The Emilie we admire is rational and less modern. It works beautifully, giving us a more complex Emilie while keeping a sense of the miraculousness of the times, an era when men - and women - challenged God.' DUBLIN EVENING HERALD
About Katharine McMahon
Katharine McMahon is the author of four novels. She has taught in secondary schools, performed in local theatre and worked as a Royal Literary Fund fellow teaching writing skills at the Universities of Hertfordshire and Warwick. She lives in Hertfordshire.
The Alchemist's Daughter by Katharine McMahon
Used - Very Good
Orion Publishing Co
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