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Alchemy and Rose Reviews

Alchemy and Rose by Sarah Maine

Alchemy and Rose: A sweeping new novel from the author of The House Between Tides, the Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year

Sarah Maine

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Hodder & Stoughton
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 7 Jan 2021
ISBN: 9781529384987

A beautiful and evocative historical novel that takes the reader to the west coast of New Zealand, Scotland and Melbourne in the 1870s

4 stars out of 5
Nick Rennison
17 Jan 2021

"Maine reworks the conventions of historical romance in a narrative that regularly undercuts expectations of what is to come."

Will Stewart, one of the central characters in Alchemy and Rose, is in flight from a crime he committed in 1870s Scotland. He pitches up in a ramshackle settlement in New Zealand where gold prospectors dream of striking it rich. During a storm he rescues a young woman named Rose and they fall into a tentative relationship and a hurried marriage...

Maine reworks the conventions of historical romance in a narrative that regularly undercuts expectations of what is to come.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
Antonia Senior
17 Jan 2021

" its portrayal of life in a gold-rush town is vivid"

The New Zealand goldfields in the 1870s are brutal places, full of disappointed men scrabbling in the ground for a better future which will probably never arrive. In a storm one night, Will Stewart risks his life to rescue a woman from a shipwreck. He rescues Rose again from the clutches of a madam, and marries her...

Sarah Maine builds the tension until suddenly Will and Rose’s married life implodes. This debut novel relies too much on too many coincidences to drive its plot, but its portrayal of life in a gold-rush town is vivid, and Rose’s story is absorbing.