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Alchemy's Daughter by Mary A. Osborne
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Alchemy's Daughter

by Mary A. Osborne

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Santina Pietra is a seventeen-year-old living in 14th-Century Italy; San Gimignano to be exact. There aren’t many alternatives for young adult women at this time. The two best options are marriage or the convent. She can stay at home as a spinster and take care of her father; her mother having died many years ago.
Santina’s father has his eye set on a much older man for her husband. But she doesn’t even like him, much less love him. She loves Calandrino, a scholar and friend of her father’s.
Santina is no ordinary woman. She wants to follow her love of knowledge and be something more than a brood mare. She spends her day studying, looking forward to her weekly lesson with Calandrino. However, when he seemingly abandons her for studies at a far-away university, she is devastated.
Instead of capitulating to her father’s wishes that she marry like her sisters, Santina leaves home to study with the local midwife Trotula. In the small cabin, she learns how to fend for herself, how to help deliver the villages, and cure the population’s sicknesses. Santina thrives in this role, no matter that both she and Tortula are considered witches.
This story may be set in the 1340s, but Santina resembles a 21st –Century woman. She is fearless, modern, intelligent, strong. I feel that the young adult women who read this will find not only inspiration, but role models in both women.
The story was rather slow in the beginning, but quickly moved into a can’t-put-it-down tale of strong women. That’s why I gave Alchemy’s Daughter four out of 5 stars. ( )
  juliecracchiolo | Jun 6, 2017 |
his is a remarkably captivating tale of a young woman's desire and determination to learn of Alchemy. Santina's Tudor, Calandrino, was a young man who marveled at Santina's interest and understanding of Alchemy as well as her other studies.
Santina's sisters were interested in marrying and homemaking skills. Although Santina learned these, her heart longed for greater learning and understanding.

A discrepancy was discovered and Santina was forbidden to see the Tudor again and to forget learning Alchemy. She refused to comply, leaving her home to live with her mother's friend, Trotula, the Alchemist.

Given the time period, Alchemy was considered by some as witchcraft so had to be carefully used - mostly by midwives. Trotula tried to gently teach and apprentice Santina. Santina's pride and stubbornness became more intense. Like so many youth, Santina felt constrained, underestimated and constantly pushed for more advanced possibilities. One day, she finally pushed too far...! Now her flaws from inexperience and pride may have cost a dear friends life and perhaps her own!

The story does not end there, but only takes a new direction. There is just enough new situations and adventures that arise, to keep the readers on edge. He/she will not want to put this book down for long. New circumstances continue through the last pages of the book. An added bonus to this book is it is very "cleanly" written!

The Title is fitting but not totally representative of the story. The Book Cover - although dark - depicts the tale well.
I offer a Four and a Half Stars rating.

*This book was sent to me in exchange for an HONEST review, of which I have given. ( )
  LAWonder10 | Jul 21, 2015 |
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In medieval San Gimignano, seventeen-year-old Santina apprentices to Trotula, the village midwife. Some say she is the victim of the midwife's spell, but Santina is determined to follow in Trotula's footsteps even as calamities strike.--Publisher.

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