Ami's Reviews > The Alchemist's Daughter

The Alchemist's Daughter by Katharine McMahon
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F_50x66
's review
Sep 26, 09

Read in September, 2009

I really wish we could give half stars...my rating would then be 3 1/2 stars instead of four. The premise of the book is intriguing but it just made me mad...mad that most of Emilie's troubles stemmed from the fact that she was female. At the beginning of the book it seems as though Emilie has had an education -- in natural sciences and alchemy -- that was not afforded to women of that time...unfortunately her father, friend and colleague of Sir Isaac Newton, doesn't bother teaching her about how to live in the real world. She is ill-prepared to recognize the quick lies of the first "gentleman" who breaches the solitude of their isolated home/laboratory. She learns through sad and torturous experience who she can trust, how to take care of herself. It made me mad to discover that her father, who we find isn't really her biological father, decided to raise her as an experiment to see if even a woman (daughter of a whore, no less) can learn. It made me mad that the author didn't really resolve many issues (too mad to list them all here!). It made me mad that Emilie's suitor, Aisleby, bore striking resemblance to a guy I to whom I used to be married. Emilie's trials seemed so unfair...people that were supposed to help her and keep her safe ended up failing her miserably and just when she seemed to figure out how to get herself out of all the mess, the book ends.
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