Review: Alchemy and Rose – Sarah Maine

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

TitleAlchemy and Rose
AuthorSarah Maine
Page Count384
7th January 2021
 Historical Fiction, Fiction

I got this as a preview copy from the nice people at Netgalley. I will always be honest about a book no matter if I paid for it or not. There are also affiliate links in here, too 💜

If it were possible to side-eye a book, Alchemy and Rose would get a full dose of it. You. I was supposed to love you.

Here’s why.

I am a Scot living in Edinburgh with New Zealand duel nationality who spent a lot of time scooting around gold mines whilst on a trip there. Somewhere in my mum’s attic is a photo of me holding a GIANT nugget of gold and I even bought my own (you never know when you might strike lucky) gold pan. Layer on the fact it’s an historical fiction and this was meant to be MY BOOK.

Scene setting time:

✨ 1870s New Zealand coated in gold
✨ Shitty situations which just get worse and worse and w-o-r-s-e
✨ One super fascinating women trying to survive said shitty situation

Now, this is a story all about how Will’s life got flipped upside down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, and I’ll tell you all about how he found a woman in the ocean and became her rescuer on multiple occasions in a town called Hokitika. Will (our main lad) ditched his former life in Scotland for the gold-laden hills of New Zealand where he moved around depending on where the next batch was uncovered.

Rose (to put it bluntly) has had a shit life, growing up in time period known to be cruel to women and, as a result, gets shipped around. A LOT. In order to save Rose from a life of prostitution, Will swoops in and marries her the next day. And they say romance is dead? Everything goes sideways and before you know it, Rose is hopping from country to country being dragged along by her blackmailer.

Let’s start with the bits I’m a big fan. This is a wonderful setting. The entire thing sucked me in straight away and I genuinely struggled to put it down. It’s insanely easy to read and whilst I was 100% more interested in Rose’s story than Will’s, I never got bored of them.

Yet I have two major bits that I noped out on and just can’t get past.

  1. There is no way in hell that two people could conveniently keep finding each other whilst moving from country to country. Yes, I know books can take liberties (blah, blah, blah), but this ain’t no fantasy book.
  2. I just cannot get past the ending. I am massively aware that I can’t have everything my own way, but Rose DESERVED more. The build-up was so dramatic and I was 100% there for the bonfire. I was handed a match. Book betrayal.

Contrary to what I said above, this is a good book. I just can’t forgive it for the gut-punch.

Alchemy and Rose hits shelves on 7th Jan 2021.

Below contains massive spoilers, but it sums up my feelings nicely so 🤷

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