This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Penny Wells. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.The Heart of the Alchemist by Penny Wells
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Romance, Science Fiction
Release Date: August 13, 2017
Publisher: Blushing Books Publications
Source: Author, Penny Wells
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Publisher
When the love of her life dumps her, Katie spends three years living with a broken heart.
Seeing him with his new fiancée prompts her to make some changes, but before she can, Katie is torn abruptly from twenty-first century Chicago.
Landing in Elizabethan England, she finds herself in a room with a handsome alchemist named
Robert. Unable to send her home, Lord Robert assumes the role of her guardian and helps her learn how to live in 1566 London. Robert’s father, the spymaster to Queen Elizabeth, sees the value in Katie’s knowledge from the future and allows her to come to court. Plunged into a world of scandals and secrets she doesn’t understand, Katie risks her life to earn Lord Robert’s trust.
As a man with questionable intent begins to pursue her, stirring Robert to jealousy, Katie discovers she may feel more for Robert than she thought. Being a woman in the sixteenth century where she may be disciplined, married off, or locked away is fraught with perils. But has Katie found love despite these dangers?
Publisher's Note: This exciting time travel romance contains some explicit scenes and elements of power exchange.
For the last three years Katie had wallowed in her misery after her break-up with the man she thought she would spend forever with. Although she knew that she was in a downward spiral she just couldn’t seem to care enough to do anything about it. I think she had untreated depression, honestly. When her ex suddenly showed up at her place of business, it was the catalyst that she needed to realize that maybe she too needed to move on. While having thoughts of how she could change her life, Katie was suddenly torn from her time period and found herself in a room filled with bowls, scales, and tools.
Katie had landed in the alchemy lab of Lord Robert and they were both surprised by her sudden appearance. Lord Robert had been trying to conjure a philosopher’s stone but had ended up with Katie instead. He was not pleased and given that he was a spymaster’s son and a Lord it apparently gave him the leeway to be a complete jackass. I absolutely with everything inside of me hated Lord Robert at the start. This is where I get aggravated because Lord Robert was only acting as any man in this time period would. It was hard for me to understand because as far as I was concerned, he lacked basic human compassion and Katie just accepted it and tried to please him. My thoughts….Stockholm Syndrome.
All Katie wanted was to get back to her old life but Robert was not able to reverse the circumstances that had brought Katie to him. When it appeared that all hope was lost in the matter, Robert and Katie came up with a cover story to explain her sudden appearance and strange accent. It also would explain how Katie came to be his ward and his responsibility to eventually find an appropriate suitor. All the while, Katie had to start learning how to behave as a woman would during this time period. It was absolutely not the easiest thing to do.
For me this is where the book really shined. I felt that the time period setting was very authentic and well written. The Author did not gloss over details to make it seem like a romantic period of time or clean for that matter. I truly appreciated the realism and thought that went into writing this story. I also exceedingly disliked how women were treated or punished, although I know it was realistic but I was not a fan of how Katie was treated. Or how she allowed herself to be treated.
Katie started to slowly adjust to her new role and Robert, after an initial jackass period, started to take better care of Katie. Pretty soon Katie found that she was getting into the swing of things and Robert felt that she was ready to accompany him at court. Katie was even beginning to actually like it there. At court was where everything became topsy turvy for Katie. In order to prove her worth to Robert’s father she was commissioned to spy, which proved to be disastrous. In addition, she received an unwelcome proposal, had a little ooh-la-la, and learned the darker side to what it really means to be a woman in that time period when compared to the freedoms she was used to experiencing.
The extra bonus to The Heart of the Alchemist was the time travel element, I thought that aspect was intriguing to ponder. What I wish was different was the narration. This story was narrated from only the perspective of the MC, Katie and I believe if I had been privy to what Robert was thinking, feeling, and encountering, I would have had a lot more patience for him. I just ended up being really pissed at the guy for his boorish behavior. I probably would have enjoyed the story a lot more if I thought he had a shred of decency at the start. He does improve throughout the story, so I begrudgingly liked him by the end. Still, it would have been a better experience for me if I knew his side of things. I will say that if you enjoy authentic time period pieces with a romance element then you will enjoy The Heart of the Alchemist.
*Thank you to Author Penny Wells for this complimentary copy of The Heart of the Alchemist*