The Alchemist’s Daughter by Mary Lawrence is the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mysteries. It is March of 1543 in London. Jolyn makes a living by scavenging items and selling them. One day she found a lovely ring and Jolyn thinks it brings her good luck. She refuses to sell the ring and wears it around her neck on a ribbon. Jolyn got lucky one day when Mrs. Jane Beldam offered her a job at Barke House as an errand girl. Jolyn does not get pay but she gets a place to live and food to eat. Now Jolyn has a man friend (probably her lover) who buys her nice gifts (gloves, a cloak). Jolyn’s best friend is Bianca Goddard. Bianca is an herbalist. Bianca’s mother used herbs for healing and her father was an alchemists. Bianca combined the two to help people. Bianca has her own place which frequently smells from the various concoctions she is brewing. Jolyn stops by for something for her upset stomach. It has been bothering her for a few days. Jolyn thinks it is the rich foods she has been eating thanks to her gentleman friend. Bianca brews her up something to help settle her stomach, but then Jolyn starts having convulsions. Bianca tries to save Jolyn, but Jolyn dies in Bianca’s arms.
Bianca fetches her friend (and the man that wants to marry her) John. John has her call the local constable (who then calls the coroner). The coroner says Jolyn was poisoned. Of course, they start blaming poor Bianca (just because of her herbs and concoctions). Constable Patch believes that since Bianca was with Jolyn when she died, then Bianca must have killed her (can you imagine all the innocent people in jail). Bianca knows she will have to find out who hurt her friend to save herself from the gallows. The first thing Bianca notices and starts investigating is the missing ring. Jolyn always wore the ring on a string around her neck and it is missing. Where is the ring?
Bianca will have to investigate while trying to avoid Constable Patch (he keeps trying to put her in jail). Bianca will look into Jolyn’s gentleman friend, Robert Wynders as well as Pandy. Pandy lived in Barke House. Pandy was very jealous of Jolyn for her looks and for Mr. Wynders. Mrs. Beldam also seems to be up to something. Who wanted Jolyn dead and why? I give The Alchemist’s Daughter 3 out of 5 stars. The idea is interesting, but the book just seemed to drag on forever. Since the novel is set during the time of Henry VIII, some of the words and phrases will be different than what we use now. The mystery was easy to solve but it is complex with a lot of different components. I hope the next book in the series will be better (they usually do get better as the series progresses).
I received a complimentary copy of The Alchemist’s Daughter from NetGalley and Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
I hope you had a great Thursday! The weekend is almost here. Thank you for reading my latest review! Have a lovely evening and Happy Reading!