I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review
Published: May 14, 2015
Number of pages: 288
Synopsis: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.
This is the first book I have read by this author and after reading it now I am going to go back and read her other book. I really enjoyed this book and could not seem to put it down. I love to read books set in Italy as it gives me a chance to travel to another place without leaving home and this had an added bonus of being a historical fiction book which are one of my favorite types to read. The characters seem to just jump off the pages at you. The author did a good job with all her details with the historical aspect, character development and scene descriptions. There is a little something in this book for everyone - history, romance and adventure. This would be a good book for young adults as well.
About 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
Interview:Q: Your new book, Alchemy’s Daughter, is about a young woman who wants to be a midwife in medieval San Gimignano, Italy. The book is classified as fantasy as well as historical fiction. How can it be both genres?
A: Alchemy’s Daughter is carefully researched historical fiction, but the book also contains subtle elements of fantasy that were inspired by the superstitions of the time period. In medieval Italy, people believed in malocchio, the evil eye, which is a curse that can be cast merely by thinking jealous thoughts about someone. People also believed in love charms and witchcraft. In Alchemy’s Daughter, these magical beliefs become part of the reality, much as they were in the 14th century when the book takes place.
Q: Would you like to have lived in 14th century Italy like your heroine, Santina Pietra?
A: I love that the world was still shrouded in mystery at this time. Science hadn’t yet explained away the mechanics of the physical world, and people had a deep sense of invisible forces at work. While I’m fascinated by the time period and love Italy, I’d take the creature comforts of the 21st century any day!
Q: How did you begin the process of writing and researching Alchemy’s Daughter?
A: The book began with my interest in the subject of alchemy and, in particular, Carl Jung’s book entitled, Psychology and Alchemy. I discovered that alchemy—which is the science of turning lead into gold—is a metaphor for personal transformation. At first I started slipping bits about alchemy into my contemporary stories. Over time, the combination morphed into a historical novel.
Q: You are a registered nurse by training. As a nurse who has cared for sick patients, did you draw from your own experiences when writing about the midwives in your book?
A: Years ago, I worked as a home health nurse and made visits throughout the city of Chicago. My 20th century nurse’s training differed, or course, from the education received by medieval midwives, but there is surely similarity of experience among all those who tend to the physical needs of others. It’s also true that during the Middle Ages, many midwives not only delivered babies, but also treated a variety of illnesses, as do home health nurses.
Q: How do you balance writing and working as a registered nurse?
A: It’s always been a juggling act, although I work fewer hours as an RN care manager these days. The key is setting firm boundaries and keeping writing time sacred. Authors sometimes prefer staying home to write on a Saturday night to seeing a movie. We’re peculiar like that.
Giveaway:Giving away 5 print copies of Alchemy’s Daughter (Open to USA & Canada) and 3 X $15 Amazon gift cards (open internationally) Ends Aug 8
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