The Alchemist's Daughter

  • by Katharine McMahon
  • Narrated by Justine Eyre
  • 11 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

"McMahon doesn't shy away from the Enlightenment's darker sides, giving this popular historical a satisfying gravity." (Publishers Weekly)
"Emilie may be a classic fairy-tale heroine on the surface, but this Sleeping Beauty has depth and an increasingly self-aware intelligence." (The Washington Post Book World)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent!!

I loved this book! I was sad to see it end. It was beautifully read and the reader pulled me deeper into the story. I think that it better suited for women (men won't find it as interesting). Well worth the listen.
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- D. J.

Beautiful

This novel was beautifully written and well read by the narrator. I found myself listening well beyond what I had time for some days. The story is provocative with several emotional peaks. The character is identifiable. Growing with her is a personal journey. Rich symbolism and unusual descriptions leave the listener satisfied. I haven't removed it from my portable device yet thinking that I may listen to it again.
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- Amy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-11-2006
  • Publisher: Books on Tape