G618 Book Review of Alchemy's Daughter by Mary A Osborne

Name of Book: Alchemy's Daughter

Author: Mary A Osborne

ISBN: 978-1-936181-17-9

Publisher: Lake Street Press

Type of book: 1344-1348, midwives, witches, Italy, romance, self fulfillment, marriage, choices, philosopher's stone, young adult, herbs, medieval ages

Year it was published: 2015


Santina Pietra is seventeen and in medieval San Gimignano, daughters of merchants are expected to marry. But Santina 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, or 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.

The setting is 14th century Italy, yet in Santina contemporary readers will discover a strong-minded young woman whose search for meaning echoes their own. Alchemy’s Daughter is the author’s second novel.


The main character is Santina, a young girl who seeks intellectual pursuits but falls in love with Calandrino who has to leave. In order to attempt to forget him, she begins a quest towards self-fulfillment by becoming an apprentice midwife to a local woman by name of Trotula. Trotula is a midwife who happens to be single and cares a lot for the patients whoever they may be. She takes Hippocratic Oath very seriously and passes on that lesson to Santina. Calandrino is a young scholar who cares about translating an ancient text and travels to make that job done. While he does that, he encourages Santina's knowledge and her interests and treats her like a human being.


Life is more than just boys and men


The story was written in third person narrative from Santina's point of view. As I recall, point of view switch didn't exist in the story, and I think the beginning and middle of the story were not compelling for me. The ending was pretty good actually and made up for the book. I think what I didn't like about the story is the pacing and although the conflict should have felt visible over the main characters, for some odd reason it didn't seem to feel that way.

Author Information:
(From Italy Book Tours)

Mary A. Osborne
Meet the Author:

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


At the start of the story, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I think I expected a little something more fast-paced and a more compelling story. The writing style really reminded me of Maggie Anton's Rashi's Daughters and I definitely could see the importance and value of a story like this in modern times, especially among the books where women consider men as important as oxygen. It is a relief to come upon a story where the female character does her best to be strong and to be passionate about her studies in becoming a midwife and learning alchemy at the times it was forbidden to do so in multiple ways.

This is for Italy Book Tours

Tour Schedule:

July 13 - Studentessa Matta - review / giveaway
July 13 - Babs Book Bistro - review / author interview / giveaway
July 14 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
July 14 - Dreams Come True Through Reading - review
July 15 - Confessions of a Reader - review / author interview
July 15 - Il Mio Tesoro - review / author interview
July 16 - ABookGeek - review / giveaway
July 16 - #redhead.with.book - review / giveaway
July 17 - Unshelfish - review / guest post / giveaway
July 20 - T's Stuff - review / guest post / giveaway
July 21 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
July 21 - In This World of Books - review / giveaway
July 22 - A Simple Life, really!? - review
July 22 - Jayne's Books - review 
July 23 - Griperang's Bookmarks - review / author interview / giveaway
July 23 - Essentially Italian - review / author interview / giveaway
July 24 - Vic's Media Room - review 
July 27 - The Autistic Gamer - review
July 27 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
July 28 - Just One More Chapter - review / giveaway
July 29 - Pure Jonel - review / guest post / giveaway
July 30 - Jorie Loves a Story - review 
July 31 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)


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