•Publisher: Lake Street Press
•Published: May 2015
In medieval San Gimignano, Italy, daughters of merchants are expected to marry. But Santina Pietra 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,” a 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.
Santina won me over. Her curiosity, her intellect and desire to learn, as well as her quest to find her purpose in life all causing her to suffer many losses while contemplating her path. Her stubbornness causes calamities and her well being at stake as she becomes the talk and suspicion of nefarious skills, her rogue choices suffering ramifications. Her highs and lows, mistakes and heroic deeds make this one fascinating read. While this is a romance of sorts, the narrative focuses on Santina and her transformation into the woman she wants to be during a time when options were severely limited for females. Independence, determination, sacrifices and strength serving as blessings and curses for this young headstrong woman willful enough to carve a life for herself fearlessly undeterred.
The plot is full of numerous points of interest pertaining to the development of medicine, herbal medicinal cures along with elixirs and poultices, Black Plague is addressed as well. A few surprise twists really complete the already wonderful reading experience. Full of excitement and adventure – fusing well with such a standout protagonist.
Fast paced, captivating, full of intriguing information written in a eloquent hand, undoubtedly, will appeal to historical fiction fans with an emphasis on Mideaval times. Fabulous book, looking forward to reading more from Osborne.
Where to buy the Book:
by Mary A. Osborne for Unshelfish
Alchemy’s Daughter: A book for the historical fiction / personal growth shelf
My new novel, Alchemy’s Daughter, is historical fiction set in medieval San Gimignano, Italy. In some ways, the book might also be shelved as “personal growth.” The story of Santina Pietra, who is determined to follow along with the village midwife, came about in part from my reading of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s book entitled Psychology and Alchemy. Medieval alchemists were chemists, working in laboratories, trying to turn lead into gold. Jung interpreted the ancient science as a metaphor for the transformation of the self. In Alchemy’s Daughter, I offer an introduction to alchemy as tool for transforming your own life and for achieving your dreams.
As the story begins, Santina is lost and uncertain about her future. She wants to be a midwife, but her father forbids her to do so. Most of us face countless challenges as we set out to reach our life goals. During the journey, we often feel lost and uncertain, unsure of our ability to reach our ultimate destination. The alchemists call this beginning phase of uncertainty the nigredo. It is the time of darkness and confusion, where the metals in the cauldron have turned into a sticky, black mess.
The phases of the alchemical experiment correspond to the phases of our personal journeys in life. As we learn and grow, we progress from the initial, dark phase to the phase of whitening, or the albedo. During the white phase, our path becomes clearer, although it can quickly turn dark again as our confusion returns.
In Alchemy’s Daughter, Santina passes through the various phases of alchemy as she struggles to become a midwife. From her story, you learn how the process of alchemy can guide you to a deeper understanding of your own journey. We are all alchemists, trying to achieve gold. By following the wisdom of the ancient alchemists, it is possible!
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.
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