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A Golden Fury
By Samantha Cohoe
As the French Revolution looms, Theosebia Hope enjoys talking politics and ideas, philosophy and alchemy. Although only 17, she is the valued assistant of her mother, a renowned alchemist who has had some success. They are close to creating the famed Philosopher's Stone, which would grant limitless power.
But that work comes with a heavy price. Her mother descends into madness pursuing her craft. Thea is sent to her father in Oxford, a professor who does not know she exists. Although Dominic, her father's assistant is kind, she knows she is not wanted. Her only hope is to find Will, the boy who was studying alchemy with her mother, the boy her mother sent away.
Soon they are all at the mercy of another rich man, one who is owed a great debt by Will. All three young people feel compelled to take that last step, that of creating the Philosopher's Stone, even if it makes them insane. They each find themselves wondering if they can take the chance, if they can save other people at the cost of their own reason.
But this is not a YA romance. A Golden Fury is a story about power -- the fabled unlimited power of the stone created through alchemy, power that Thea's mother came close to creating before it drove her mad. There is another powerful thread running through the story -- that of Thea's place in the world. Women in the 18th century were not free to carve out their own future. The ideas of proto-feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, are woven into the choices Thea must make. What power does Thea have? And if she has any, how does she use it? Who does she use it for?
Cohoe has crafted together many elements in a fast-paced novel that melds together fantasy, horror and historical fiction to tell the story of a gifted young woman who wants to live a full, complete life.