The Complete Idiots Guide to the Ultimate Reading List discussion

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Chapter 1: Historical Fiction > The Alchemist's Daughter -book club selection *spoilers*

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message 1: by Tera Marie (new)

Tera Marie | 91 comments Did I miss a posting for this somewhere? Anyway, finished the book. It was a good read. I enjoyed Emilie's strength of character and how she finally understood that she had it even though the reader knew all along. Was glad that she got everything she deserved in the end and would follow in her father's footsteps to some degree.


message 2: by MJ, Idiot's Top libriarian (new)

MJ | 1332 comments Mod
No you are the first to finish


message 3: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) I finished it as well. Funny that you mentioned Emilie's strength of character. I found myself annoyed with her until the last couple of chapters when she finally got some kind of a backbone.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree with Jackie. This was not a book that I "couldn't put down". For being so intelligent, it sure took Emilie a long time to learn about human behavior.


message 5: by Derrick (new)

Derrick (afderrick) I have the last 30-ish (looking for Sarah but haven't found her yet) pages to finish tonight. I would conur it's not a "I can't put it down" book however I have found it highly interesting. If I knew fully what the plot was I probably would have never read it so have surprisingly been pleased by reading it. I would agree that is has taken her too long to figure out life, her naivity has driven me crazy.


message 6: by Derrick (new)

Derrick (afderrick) Just finished it tonight, I didn't care much for the ending though but found it was very neat that the story made a complete circle of how she came into the Selden household and then the new baby came into the Selden household.


message 7: by Tera Marie (new)

Tera Marie | 91 comments I'm wondering if everyone else had (or is having) a hard time getting through the book? I really had to push myself to get it finished. If I stopped reading, I really was not motivated to pick it back up.

I really thought Emilie was strong all along, considering all of the change and tragedy that she endured. Being uprooted from her familiar home and being plopped down into London society when she had never been exposed to it, losing her baby, losing her father, having her home demolished and rebuilt (or at least the beginnings), finding out her husband was not who she thought, discovering dead babies in a trash heap, being blamed by the villagers for their trials and tribulations at the hands of her husband, trying to reconcile her feelings for Shales...the poor girl had a lot going on and the fact that she didn't crack before setting herself on fire was amazing. I think I would have been there after miscarrying, but she put on a strong facade and went on with life.



message 8: by Christal (new)

Christal I thought this book was okay, but not something I would read again. I did not really like the character of Emilie. I thought she was incredibly naive and I do not think she was a strong person until after the fire. I wondered how she could be so in love with a man who pretty much raped her in the woods. After that, it seemed she was just dragged from situation to situation. She was no longer really living, just existing. I was happy that she went and found Sarah, but it seems to me that her motivation was less about caring for Sarah than it was about her acceptance of her own background. I was also a little confused about the characterization of Gill. I could never figure out what his role in the story was exactly. The book did make me want to learn more about the real woman who was the inspiration for Emilie.


message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane (dianes) This was not my usual kind of book, and I read it slowly (I just finished it). I didn't like Emilie at first, but I guess she kind of grew on me, because by the end I started reading faster because I just had to know what happened to her.It was an interesting ending. I think my favorite part was her father's journal about her as a child.


message 10: by Derrick (new)

Derrick (afderrick) OH definitely. I mean I also loved the part of her father's journal as well as probably my most favorite part of the book, but it was aggravating that she was so seperated from her true past by the stories told her.

Out of curiosity, do you think had her father's notebooks have been along the same lines as what her father had told her, that she came from a Delery silk trading family, that she would have gone to look for Sarah? Or did she only look for Sarah because she then realized that only by the grace of God (or at least her father) that she had the life she knew?


message 11: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I just finished tonight. I found I had to kind of force myself to pick the book up to read, but once I was reading I was absorbed in the story. I liked, but not loved the book. I think I understand how life got away from Emilie. She really was sheltered and pretty much taught exactly what to think so when the men came into her life, she just let things happen. I felt sorry for her from the beginning because she was never "schooled" in human nature. My favorite part where the journals as well. I wasn't too happy about the somewhat quick wrap up in the end. I thought it a little cheesey that this new baby came from Emilie's exact beginnings. I was really loving the book until the last chapter. Glad I read it and would probably recommend it, but not one of my favorites.


message 12: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 103 comments I've had this from the library but just haven't felt compelled to start. After reading about so many people having to force themselves to read it I think I'm going to pass on this one.


message 13: by Derrick (new)

Derrick (afderrick) Joanie I enjoyed the book. It wasn't a book I just couldn't put down but it wasn't one I had to force myself to read (like Robinson Crusoe, hated that book).


message 14: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Joanie - I felt the same way, but really once you get going it's a good book. About the middle, the author throws in some science "stuff" and it got a bit dull, but then it picks up the pace to end. It was well written and a good story so I felt it was worth reading.


message 15: by Sally (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) I'm glad I read it, but I thought it was predicable and I didn't really enjoy the main character that much. I realize it's because of her situation and the way she was used and treated made her that kind of person towards others. But it just didn't really light my fire. It was a bit too much like Jane Austen meets Dr. Frankenstein.


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