Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.
While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.
But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.
I was really happy to find this one to be a fun and exciting read, but where it fell a little short was that some of the characters felt a little without dimension. The book is very plot driven, which I did really enjoy and it did suck me in with that component. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept the momentum of the book up and I did really enjoy the premise and tackling of issues that faced women in the time it is set (and some that are still prevalent today in different ways). I have to say the writing was really compelling and well crafted and I would definitely write more from this author since this is their debut.