Synopses & Reviews
There are long-held secrets at the manor house in Buckinghamshire, England, where Emilie Selden has been raised in near isolation by her father. A student of Isaac Newton, John Selden believes he can turn his daughter into a brilliant natural philosopher and alchemist. Secluded in their ancient house, with only two servants for company, he fills Emilie with knowledge and records her progress obsessively.
In the spring of 1725, father and daughter begin their most daring alchemical experiment to date--they will attempt to breathe life into dead matter. But their work is interrupted by the arrival of two strangers: one a researcher, the other a dazzling young merchant. During the course of a sultry August, while her father is away, Emilie experiences the passion of first love. Listening to her heart rather than her head, she makes a choice.
Banished to London and plunged headlong into a society that is both glamorous and ruthless, Emilie discovers that for all her extraordinary education she has no insight into the workings of the human heart. When she tries to return to the world of books and study, she instead unravels a shocking secret that sets her on her true journey to enlightenment.
The Alchemist's Daughter is a gripping, evocative tale. Set against the backdrop of eighteenth-century London society, it is an unforgettable story of one woman's journey through a world of mystery, passion, and obsession.
Selden Manor was the crucible in which my father, the Gills, and I lived together. I peer into it now with the respectful caution with which I was taught to approach any volatile experiment. I am searching for a day to illustrate our life before 1725, the year wheneverything changed. And unlike the blacksmith's daughter, I am an expert in observation. I know what I am looking for--bubbles of gas, a rise in temperature, an alteration in texture--small indications of chemical change that mean something significant is happening. --from The Alchemist's Daughter
Growing up under the watchful eye of her father, an eccentric chemist, young Emilie Selden is a female scientist--and alchemist--in an eighteenth-century world that dismisses female accomplishment, until an unexpected encounter with the temptations of the outside world lures her away from her home, her work, and her father. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.
During the English Age of Reason, a woman cloistered since birth learns that knowledge is no substitute for experience.
Raised by her father in near isolation in the English countryside, Emilie Selden is trained as a brilliant natural philosopher and alchemist. In the spring of 1725, father and daughter embark upon their most daring alchemical experiment to date—attempting to breathe life into dead matter. But when Emilie—against her fathers wishes—experiences the passion of first love, she is banished to London, where she soon discovers she knows nothing about human nature—or her own familys complicated past. So begins her shocking journey to enlightenment.
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About the Author
Katharine McMahon is the author of four novels published in the United Kingdom. She lives in Hertfordshire, England.