A GOLDEN FURY – Blog Tour Stop!

Set in eighteenth century England, Samantha Cohoe’s debut novel, A GOLDEN FURY, follows a young alchemist as she tries to save the people she loves from the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone. The streets of London and Oxford come to life as this historical fantasy unravels. Weaving together an alluring story of magic and danger, Samantha’s debut has her heroine making messy decisions as she toes the line between good and evil while it becomes blurred.

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 cause anyone who tries to make it 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.

About the Author:

Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A GOLDEN FURY is her debut novel.

My Review:

A GOLDEN FURY was a captivating, mysterious read that kept me on the edge of my seat! I have lots of things to share, and I’m excited to tell you all about this book – but don’t worry this review will be SPOILER FREE. So read on!

The premise of this story – a race to create the Philosopher’s Stone in an alchemic feat with the added caveat that doing so might make you crazy – was entertaining and felt fresh and exciting, and I was drawn in instantly to Thea’s family drama and personal ambition and drive. The historical setting also gave the book such an atmospheric feeling, and I think it really contributed to the mysterious and fantastical vibe of the book.

Though I won’t say where or why (I said no spoilers), Thea has to travel around between European countries and England, all in her attempt to stop others from suffering the alchemist’s curse. Her journey was exciting, and you have no choice but to root for her! She does her best to try and look out for others, and I loved how this was paired with her personal ambition. Thea knows making the Philosopher’s Stone comes with a price – but even she is tempted; she’s a young woman and an alchemist with something to prove and a name to make!

Some of the more tiny details, specificities, that I really loved about this book were its feminist themes and the subtle inclusion of not only Eurocentric histories and legends of the Philosopher’s Stone, but also inclusion of Arabic (and Spanish) influence. It’s a small nod, but I liked that the book mentioned Arabic texts, not just European and British ones – it might be a small detail but I appreciate the recognition that it definitely was not only Europe that has a historical place in the mythology of the Philosopher’s Stone. Thea also represents an interesting feminist figure in the historical setting of the book – she’s often alone (which as a woman back then was a difficult position to be in), she has ambition and her alchemical work is existing in a space dominated by men, and her relationships with men are an important plot point. But, her relationships with men aren’t written in a way that overshadows her own story, but in a way that demonstrates Thea’s ability to choose how she interacts with men and how she chooses to exercise her agency when her life circumstances have placed her outside the norm, outside the expectations of how a woman should be behaving.

So, to finish up! A GOLDEN FURY was super fun, full of twists that kept me guessing, and so compelling. Go check it out if you’re looking for a historical fantasy/fiction book that’s a little different and a lot of fun!

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