I went on a bit of a cheap book buying splurge in Smiths a few weeks ago, it was surprising or perhaps unsurprising how many heavily discounted books there were by previous Richard and Judy writers, I’d heard that that was the case, that people were buying Richard and Judy bookclub books but not going onto buying other books by the Richard and Judy authors, well not in droves anyway.
So amongst others I brought The Alchemist’s Daughter by Katherine McMahon, I had previously read her The Rose of Sebastopol, which I had enjoyed. McMahon’s main character in The Alchemist’s Daughter, Emilie, was far less sympathetic however, but that may have been my older maturer self judging the actions of a reckless teenager harshly, but for a good chunk of the book I wanted to grip Emilie round the shoulders and go “can’t you see what you’re doing? You stupid girl”. However much as Emilie’s actions are annoying, they are understandable, kept enclosed with her alchemist father, of course she’s going to fall for the first flash in his pants that gallops through her village. Makes me glad that I’m a woman in the 21st century though, as women in the 18th century, particularly those it seems of either a higher class or a particularly lower class were essentially powerless (whereas women like the character Mrs. Gill, Emilie’s housekeeper, being inbetween, seemed to have more autonomy).
I liked this book, but it didn’t light any particularly great fires for me, so in the end I stayed up deliberately late last night to finish it, just to get it over and done with, take that for what you will, the fact that I wanted it over and done with versus that I did manage to stay awake till 1.30am reading it!