Set in the early 1700's this is the story of Emilie - the alchemist's daughter of the title - who has been raised by her father in almost total isolation from the world. He has trained her in science and alchemy and is devoted to her, although he's always been a rather gruff and undemonstrative father. Since the day of her birth he has recorded her behaviour (her failures and triumphs) in his 'Emilie notebooks', and he believes that he has moulded her into a brilliant and super-rational scientist to carry on his legacy. However, he neglected to consider that she might be interested in more than just science and alchemy, and when a dashing young man pays a call to the house - ostensibly to ask for Emilie's father's scientific advice - Emilie's hormones take over, and it's not long before she is pregnant, married, and disowned by her heartbroken father. And that's when her adventure really begins. Like a Hardy or a Jane Austen heroine, Emilie is destined to makes a bad choice and painfully come to realise her mistake only after she loses nearly everything.
There's also a dark secret in her past, a dramatic explosion, and a Mr Knightly / Gabriel Oak figure to help her put things right '
Katharine McMahon is the author of four novels. She has taught in secondary schools, performed in local theatre and worked as a Royal Literary Fund fellow teaching writing skills at the Universities of Hertfordshire and Warwick. She lives in Hertfordshire.