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Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: Alchemy’s Daughter by Mary A. Osborne


•Publisher: Lake Street Press
•Published: May 2015
•Pages 288

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.

Santina won me over. Her curiosity, her intellect and desire to learn, as well as her quest to find her purpose in life all causing her to suffer many losses while contemplating her path. Her stubbornness causes calamities and her well being at stake as she becomes the talk and suspicion of nefarious skills, her rogue choices suffering ramifications. Her highs and lows, mistakes and heroic deeds make this one fascinating read. While this is a romance of sorts, the narrative focuses on Santina and her transformation into the woman she wants to be during a time when options were severely limited for females. Independence, determination, sacrifices and strength serving as blessings and curses for this young headstrong woman willful enough to carve a life for herself fearlessly undeterred.

The plot is full of numerous points of interest pertaining to the development of medicine, herbal medicinal cures along with elixirs and poultices, Black Plague is addressed as well. A few surprise twists really complete the already wonderful reading experience. Full of excitement and adventure – fusing well with such a standout protagonist.

Fast paced, captivating, full of intriguing information written in a eloquent hand, undoubtedly, will appeal to historical fiction fans with an emphasis on Mideaval times. Fabulous book, looking forward to reading more from Osborne.

Where to buy the Book:

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository


Guest Post

by Mary A. Osborne for Unshelfish

Alchemy’s Daughter: A book for the historical fiction / personal growth shelf

My new novel, Alchemy’s Daughter, is historical fiction set in medieval San Gimignano, Italy. In some ways, the book might also be shelved as “personal growth.” The story of Santina Pietra, who is determined to follow along with the village midwife, came about in part from my reading of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s book entitled Psychology and Alchemy. Medieval alchemists were chemists, working in laboratories, trying to turn lead into gold. Jung interpreted the ancient science as a metaphor for the transformation of the self. In Alchemy’s Daughter, I offer an introduction to alchemy as tool for transforming your own life and for achieving your dreams.

As the story begins, Santina is lost and uncertain about her future. She wants to be a midwife, but her father forbids her to do so. Most of us face countless challenges as we set out to reach our life goals. During the journey, we often feel lost and uncertain, unsure of our ability to reach our ultimate destination. The alchemists call this beginning phase of uncertainty the nigredo. It is the time of darkness and confusion, where the metals in the cauldron have turned into a sticky, black mess.

The phases of the alchemical experiment correspond to the phases of our personal journeys in life. As we learn and grow, we progress from the initial, dark phase to the phase of whitening, or the albedo. During the white phase, our path becomes clearer, although it can quickly turn dark again as our confusion returns.

In Alchemy’s Daughter, Santina passes through the various phases of alchemy as she struggles to become a midwife. From her story, you learn how the process of alchemy can guide you to a deeper understanding of your own journey. We are all alchemists, trying to achieve gold. By following the wisdom of the ancient alchemists, it is possible!

Meet the Author:289405

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.

Connect with Mary: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter


Enter to win one of five print copies of Alchemy’s Daughter (Open to US/CA)  and one of 3 $15 Amazon GC (Open Internationally).  Ends Aug 8. Thanks so much to Italy Book Tours for organizing this great tour. Don’t forget to visit the other stops on this tour by clicking on the Italy Book Tours banner.

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Leave a comment


  1. Mary Preston

     /  July 17, 2015

    The time period & setting appeal a great deal; medieval Italy

  2. Melissa Seng

     /  July 17, 2015

    I’d like to win this book because it’s a genre I am not familiar with. The same goes for have author. I’ve never read anything by her before.

    • Melissa Seng

       /  July 17, 2015

      *** the author, not have author. Smartphone, my foot.

  3. I’d love to read this interesting story line!

  4. Betty W

     /  July 17, 2015

    I like the setting and I enjoy reading books about personal growth and, of course, the book sounds great! Thank you for the chance to win!

  5. Rachel

     /  July 17, 2015

    I want to read this book because it sounds really interesting

  6. Deborah Caudill

     /  July 17, 2015

    I want to win this book because it sounds so interesting and I have always liked to read about magic and alchemy, so this book is right up my alley. Now that’s a strange saying.

  7. Julie Waldron

     /  July 17, 2015

    I want to win this for my daughter because this looks like a book she would enjoy.

  8. Rita Wray

     /  July 17, 2015

    Sounds like a book I will enjoy.

  9. I would like to win because I think it would be a great read.

  10. Letty Blanchard

     /  July 17, 2015

    Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and this one taking place in medievil Italy especially has me intrigued. This sounds like a great book. Would love to win a copy of this book.

  11. rhianona

     /  July 17, 2015

    I love medieval Italy. It’s such a great time period. And this just sounds like a really great coming of age story.

  12. Jennifer Lessard

     /  July 17, 2015

    I would love to win because I love historical romance and this story really is that and more. And the more is what I would love to explore.

  13. cherioggy

     /  July 17, 2015

    This time period sounds to be very exciting!

  14. Emily Endrizzi

     /  July 17, 2015

    I am intrigued by this book. I didn’t know that Jung made the analogy between alchemists and self-transformation. Hopefully he wasn’t saying that self-transformation was as futile as alchemy. That would be depressing.

  15. This sounds like a great read and I love historical books!

  16. Corey Hutton

     /  July 18, 2015

    I want this book because it comes with a gift certificate. 🙂

  17. Sue A.

     /  July 19, 2015

    It’s been a while since I read a historical novel, this looks good!

  18. Looks like a good book and I like to read.

  19. Denise Duvall

     /  July 22, 2015

    I like books set in this time period of history.

  20. I love historical books but I have never read a medieval book with the setting in Italy and this one sounds very intriguing.

  21. Mary Songer

     /  July 31, 2015

    I love a book that takes me to a different place and time. One that I can learn something from as well as be entertained. This looks like that kind of book so I hope I win!

  22. Dan Denman

     /  August 7, 2015

    I like historical fiction. I think Santina sounds like an interesting character. I think the time period and setting will be fun to read about.

  23. Amanda Sakovitz

     /  August 7, 2015

    I want to win because it looks interesting!


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