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The Alchemist's Daughter

(Bianca Goddard Mysteries #1)

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  941 ratings  ·  202 reviews
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, B
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Kensington
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Mary Lawrence No profanity. No God's name in vain. …moreNo profanity. No God's name in vain. (less)
Mary Lawrence I hope your question hasn't been sitting here for months before I just saw it. I apologize. I get so few questions I rarely check to see if I have any…moreI hope your question hasn't been sitting here for months before I just saw it. I apologize. I get so few questions I rarely check to see if I have any.
I've written the first three books as stand alones and the general consensus is that you don't feel lost. I try to include enough back story to fill in some basic gaps. So you should be fine. Thank you for giving the series a try. Best to you!(less)

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Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
The Alchemist's Daughter is an enjoyable mystery.

Bianca Goddard, daughter of an infamous alchemist in 16th century London, is falsely accused of murdering her friend, Jolyn. Bianca must use her medicinal knowledge in order to solve Jolyn's murder.
breezed through this book very quickly, reading it in a matter of hours. At times the language did slow me down as the author added as much authenticity to the slang and pronunciations as possible without losing the reader in the process. I thought this was a nice touch and added more atmosphere and realism. Still, this is a very easy read, very different from the usual procedural type mystery making it especially fun to read. I am thankful this novel is a part of a series featuring Bianca beca ...more
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.0 out of 5 stars -- A medieval mystery set in Tudor London, this first in the series featuring Bianca Goddard is full of period details that may appeal to certain readers. Bianca lives and works in Southwark in her rent of Medicinals and Physicks, creating balms and potions to aid the suffering folk nearby. When her best friend, Jolyn Carmichael, is poisoned and Bianca is threatened with arrest for murder, Bianca is determined to find out who really killed Jolyn and why.

There's really not muc
N.N. Light
I picked up this book solely on the blurb and cover alone. I thought it was a cozy mystery but instead, The Alchemist's Daughter is strictly historical fiction. Not that I mind reading historical fiction, but I was in the mood for a light mystery. I never really got into Bianca's head and found myself skimming over parts. That being said, Lawrence has done her research and is historically accurate in all facets of the story. Impressive consider the time period (Tudor England). If you love histor ...more
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Alchemist’s Daughter by Mary Lawrence is the first in her new Bianca Goddard Mysteries. The tale takes place during the reign of King Henry VIII and offers a heroine who dabbles in forensics as she tries to exonerate herself from murder charges.

Bianca Goddard is a unique, quirky character who uses her knowledge of herb and medicinal plants to create remedies and sells them to the poor in the Southwark slums.
The trouble begins when Bianca’s friend Jolyn comes to her with stomach cramps. In th
Sep 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Mary Lawrence’s The Alchemist’s Daughter has been on my TBR longer than I care to admit. I received an ARC in 2015, but only got round to picking it up this summer. The premise intrigued me, but for one reason or another the book never demanded my immediate attention.

Interestingly, my sentiments have not been altered by actually reading the novel. I mean no offense, but the telling struck me as rather bland. The mystery unfo
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
My copy courtesy of Kensington Books/NetGalley - much thanks!

A "warts and all" historical mystery, rather than a cosy. It was OK, I guess - probably about 2 1/2 stars. I didn't much like, or much care about, the main character, which didn't help.

For a further review: .
Douglas Lord
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The year is 1543, the place is that messy, slummy, open sewer pit known as London. Amid the dank corners and diseased populace living during the reign of Henry VIII and his final wife is Bianca Goddard, 17-year-old proprietor of medicinals and physickes. Bright, cheery, and savvy, Bianca is caught up in a misadventure in which she is forced to prove her innocence after a good friend is poisoned to death (though the victim also sports “a purplish ring around her neck” from being throttled). The c ...more
Suzanne Lilly
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy Tudor history and mysteries.
Recommended to Suzanne by: NetGalley
In The Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Lawrence brings the world of London 1543 to dark life. It begins with the rats. Rats may have been more numerous than people in that era. As the story opens, someone is collecting the vermin for an unseemly purpose.

Bianca Goddard, the main character, lives a precarious existence, a 16th century equivalent of living paycheck to paycheck. She creates potions and salves to cure her customers of what ails them. One of her biggest customers runs a house of ill repute
Mar 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
The characters felt more like plot-necessary characteristics lumped together than actual people.

The Spunky Independent Smart Girl with the writers-manual-mandated flaw - in this case, untidiness rather than the usual clumsiness. And who, of course, despite being born in Tudor London, has morals and beliefs that fit very neatly into our own time.

The Handsome Devoted Love Interest, who continues to adore her despite constantly being pushed aside.

Throw in the Lazy Cop With Amusing Speech Patterns,
Pamela Shropshire
3.5 stars. This features a really interesting main protagonist, a female chemist whose father was an alchemist and whose mother was a traditional herbalist. Ms. Lawrence definitely does NOT romanticize Tudor London - it's gritty and smelly and life is very cheap. If you're squeamish about rats, you may not want to read this one. I'm not squeamish about much, but the scene with the Rat Man eating a raw rat was a bit much even for me. *shudders* Nevertheless, really engaging characters (I loved Me ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
I won an advance copy of this book from
Goodreads giveaway. I enjoyed Mary Lawrence's descriptions of 16th century London. Lawrence paints a realistic picture of what London was like for the poor and I liked that she focuses on a class of society that is rarely explored in books. The book was easy to read and found myself unable to put the book down towards the end, wanting to figure the mystery out.

Lawrence included a somewhat unorganized back story about the main characters parents that I woul
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
The story is set during the reign of King Henry VIII so there's a fair amount of squalor depicted and you get a whole new appreciation for indoor plumbing, electricity, etc! Bianca Goddard is in the lower rungs of society but she manages to eke out a living concocting herbal remedies for the poor and unfortunate. Her friend, Jolyn, comes to her one day complaining of severe abdominal pain and cramping. Bianca puts together a tried and true remedy for her friend who promptly dies on the spot. Now ...more
Tara Kable
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I received an ARC copy of this from netgalley in return for an honest review. This book took a minute for me to get into, but only because it was written as if we were in the 1600's...which we were, so thats a good thing, just unusual. I love the idea of potions and spells, and this one had a really good who done it! Thank you netgalley! ...more
Catherine Leonard
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Bianca is a young lady who is the daughter of an alchemist (hence the title), she does not follow in his footsteps per se, but instead chooses to make her living concocting remedies to heal the sick and ailing, induce miscarriages and poison to kill rats. One day, her friend Jolyn comes by Bianca's small rent, complaining of a stomach ache; and after drinking a herbal tea concocted by Bianca, then drops down dead in front of her, apparently the result of poisoning. Due to the nature of Jolyn's d ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
See my other reviews at Never Enough Books

The Alchemist’s Daughter is a novel set in a time which I have found interest in – 16th Century London. The time of the reign of Henry VIII, a most turbulent time. In it, we meet Bianca Goddard, an intelligent young woman who uses her knowledge of medicinal plants and herbs to create remedies for the very poor in the Southwark slums where she lives. When her friend Jolyn comes complaining of stomach pains, the usual remedy doesn’t ease the pain but inste
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
There has always been a lot of interest in Tudor England during the reign of Henry VIII. In recent years there have been books, movies and TV shows that explored that turbulent time. Mostly there has been depiction of the royals of that time when there seemed to be endless intrigues and plots. You could be in high regard with King Henry at one point and then fall out of favor and be executed without a trial.

Life was very precarious in the mid 1500's. The people at the bottom rung of society had
I’m obsessed with all things historical, and the Tudors have to be close to the top of that list. Mary Lawrence has introduced a new series, Bianca Goddard Mysteries, set near the end of Henry’s reign. The Alchemist’s Daughter is the story of Bianca, living hand to mouth in the lower rungs of society, making her living with potions and remedies. While her skills are solid, her position in society is tenuous, increasingly so after the death of her friend Jolyn in her apartment after being treated ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mary Lawrence combines history and fiction with fascinating alchemy—all the more intriguing because the heroine of her fast-paced mystery, the first in the Bianca Goddard series, set during the late days of Henry VIII’s reign, is daughter to an alchemist, although Bianca claims to be a chemist, a maker of remedies. Lawrence is adept at putting fulsome smells, early scientific methods and sanitary practices of the time into the broader Tudor class structure and giving a picture of how Bianca and ...more
Julie Barrett
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Alchemist's Daughter by Mary Lawrence
Wanted to read this book to find out exactly what her career is all about. Starts out near the city of London 1549's and Bianca is a person who mixes herbs and spices and creates concuctions to help cure people and to rid others of pests-rats. Loved hearing how and why she mixed things, She learned a lot from her parents when it came to the mixing.
Her best friend shows up one day as she's mixing things and is complaining about pains in her stomach. Their
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kimber by: mary lawrence
Taking place during the reign of King Henry VIII, The Alchemist's Daughter doesn't concern itself with the glitz and glamour of court but rather the grim reality of common living on the streets of 16th century London. Bianca Goddard does not consider herself an alchemist. That is the territory of her morally questionable estranged father. Instead Bianca concentrates on finding medicines, cures and salves for the commoners of London and Southwark. When her best friend, Jolyn, drops dead shortly a ...more
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love reading books about the olden days of England, why I don't know, but I'm certainly glad I didn't live back then!! Ditches full of sewage, sleeping on straw, if you were lucky, and stale bread seemed to be a staple. No thanks.

Anyhow, The first chapter of this book had me going huh? But after that, the mysteries just kept coming left and right. There are so many secrets in this book, I just enjoyed discovering what they all were.

I do have to say, all the rats, okay they got to me, but I t
Elaine Crockett
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mary Lawrence is an artist. Period. What a treat to read someone with such a command of the English language. "Soon this sleeping maiden of a city will stretch her toes and yawn. But there is still enough dark that he may only be seen as a hooded figure standing in his wherry. No one can see his arms as thin as bones or his skin as gray and pale as the moon." Beautiful. I would give this book ten stars if I could just for the descriptions alone. And an amazing job with bringing 16th century Lond ...more
Kathy Jund
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mary Lawrence's debut release of her Bianca Goddard series! I enjoyed it very much! England 1543, Bianca only wants to prepare "Medicinals and Physickes" to help those in need inhabiting the shores of both London and Southwark. Being the daughter of a known alchemist out to discover the formula to the Philosopher's Stone may cause her more harm than expected. Murder is in the air, and will she end up as suspect? ...more
Calvin Rinck
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction has always been a bit of a hit or miss for me. I've often found authors taking liberties that are just so unbelievable as to completely turn me off from the story. That being said, the attention to detail and overall use of true period language is both refreshing and commendable for a first time author. With a memorable cast of characters centered around an intriguing murder mystery, I found this novel to be an engaging read that left me excited for the sequel. Well done. ...more
Ann Bright
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Anyone interested in history and mystery with lots of details about what it must have been like to live in slum London in Tudor times will like this book. Those times certainly weren't a bed of roses. History teachers looking for something different from a text book will find some unusual words, and reality in abundance! Looking forward to the next one..... ...more
Ken Cook
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historic fiction buffs
Recommended to Ken by: Shelf Aware newsletter
Well plotted, engaging, informative/educational. Bianca, the title figure, leads a broad cast of well-drawn characters through this entertaining novel set in London and Southwark set late in the reign of Henry VIII.
Danielle Gonzalez
Very different type of mystery

The story takes place during the reign of Henry the 8th. I liked the description of the lives led by the less fortunate. It was very difficult living. I liked the characters, but the mystery had a strange end that didn't really make sense.
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
The book started a little too slow for me, but I persevered and it paid off. The second half of the book was much more interesting and flowed better. As always, I enjoy books with an element of history in them.
Mac Daly
It's late in Henry VII's reign and Bianca is a mixer of herbal remedies. When her good friend dies under mysterious circumstances, Bianca finds herself under suspicion and must brave the dangerous London streets to prove her innocence and escape the hangman's noose. A well-researched and thoroughly entertaining series. ...more
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The Parlor PI's : The Alchemists Daughter - Side Read for August 2015 51 10 Sep 12, 2015 12:52PM  

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The Bianca Goddard Mysteries are set in Tudor London during the final years of King Henry VIII's reign. Bianca is the daughter of an infamous alchemist who uses her 'wits' and sometimes alchemy to solve murders among the commoners. The series consists of (in order) THE ALCHEMIST'S DAUGHTER, DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST, and DEATH AT ST. VEDAST, and THE ALCHEMIST OF LOST SOULS. THE LOST BOYS OF LONDON rel ...more

Other books in the series

Bianca Goddard Mysteries (5 books)
  • Death of an Alchemist (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, #2)
  • Death at St. Vedast (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, #3)
  • The Alchemist of Lost Souls (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, #4)
  • The Lost Boys of London (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, #5)

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