In the year 1543 of King Henry VIII’s turbulent reign, the daughter of a notorious alchemist finds herself suspected of cold-blooded murder…
Bianca Goddard employs her knowledge of herbs and medicinal plants to concoct remedies for the disease-riddled poor in London’s squalid Southwark slum. But when her friend Jolyn comes to her complaining of severe stomach pains, Bianca’s prescription seems to kill her on the spot. Recovering from her shock, Bianca suspects Jolyn may have been poisoned before coming to her—but the local constable is not so easily convinced.
To clear her name and keep her neck free of the gallows, Bianca must apply her knowledge of the healing arts to deduce exactly how her friend was murdered and by whom—before she herself falls victim to a similar fate…
The Alchemist’s Daughter is a great book. At first I thought the book was a murder mystery situated in Henry VIII’s court, but was surprised that this story showed the life of the poorer residents of Tudor England. It showed how people lived and scraped by, while the elite sat back and didn’t care about the common folk.
Bianca Goddard starts out this story being completely focused on her work and basically ignoring those who care and love her. When her best friend dies in her home, Bianca is accused of her murder. She must find out who did it. Along the way she must rely not just on her knowledge of poisons and science, but also those around her.
This book was a great read. The pace was amazing. Not rushed so that you could keep up and with enough twists and turns that it made an amazing murder mystery.
Bianca Goddard is the main character who drives this story, but she is not alone. She is joined by John, her “intended”. He has known her since she was a young girl and has had to put up with being ignored while she is working on one of her projects.
Meddybemps, who is a street seller, cares for Bianca like she is a daughter. He has a lot of street smarts and adds some comic relief to a sometimes dark, gritty tale.
The main protagonist is Constable Patch. He would like to think he works for the King, in keeping the peace, but really he is just trying to further himself in any way he can.
Then there are all the characters from Barke House and well you will just have to read the book to find out about those people. UGH
I loved this book. I found it a great murder mystery and I loved the characters. So, much so that I’m excited and can’t wait until Book 2 in this series is available!
The only warning I would give you are that rats take up way too much time in this book, but without them Bianca wouldn’t have a mystery on her hands. So, they are both good and bad, but ugh I can’t stand rats, even reading about them. UGH still shivering and ugh after reading about them. UGH
I would totally suggest this book, it’s great!!!
Mary Lawrence is the author of the upcoming Bianca Goddard Mysteries. Set in Tudor London in the final years of Henry VIII's reign, Book I, THE ALCHEMIST'S DAUGHTER, will be released in April, 2015.
Originally from Evansville, Indiana, Mary attended Butler and Indiana University, moving to Maine after completing a degree in cytotechnology. She has worked in hospitals and labs and written indexes for several small publishers. Recently she started a berry farm in southern Maine with her husband. She is an avid reader of historical fiction and nonfiction and concentrates on Tudor/Elizabethan history.
In 2010, she was a finalist in the RWA's Golden Heart Contest, and won the Golden Claddagh in historical fiction. She was also a finalist in the Gotham Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest in 2010. Visit her at www.marylawrencebooks.com
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Stephanie