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Uluru, Australia
  • Location: London, New Zealand, Scotland

Alchemy and Rose

Alchemy and Rose

Why a Booktrail?

1866. People are leaving their old lives behind to seek their fortunes in New Zealand’s last great gold rush.

  • ISBN: B08B32W6KW
  • Genre: Gothic, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

1866. Will Stewart is one of many who have left their old lives behind to seek their fortunes in New Zealand’s last great gold rush. The conditions are hostile and the outlook bleak, but he must push on in his uncertain search for the elusive buried treasure.

Rose is about to arrive on the shores of South Island when a storm hits and her ship is wrecked. Just when all seems lost she is snatched from the jaws of death by Will, who risks his life to save her. Drawn together by circumstance, they stay together by choice and for a while it seems that their stars have finally aligned.

But after a terrible misunderstanding they are cruelly separated, and their new-found happiness is shattered. As Will chases Rose across oceans and continents, he must come to terms with the possibility that he might never see her again. And if he does, he will have to face the man who took her.



Travel Guide

BookTrail your way around Alchemy and Rose

Alchemy and Rose is a work of fiction but in the author note, she mentions that it is loosely based on a  framework of historical fact.


There really was a gold field here which inspired the author to recreate it in her book. As early as 1874, she mentioned that two men, Dick Cashman and James Connor are said to have found coarse nuggety gold in the water of a a creek emptying into the Taramakau river whilst setting up an illegal whisky still. By 1876, there  were some 6000 diggers on the gold field.

You can still  visit this small town and see the buildings which survive from this time. If you see the out of the railroad track, you can see the boulders and stones that were mined during this time.


There was a  real nugget of gold found twice the size of the one Rose finds, some 14 miles south of here.

Srath, Scotland

Kinloss House in Scotland  is fictional as are the  villages around it but the clearances mentioned in the novel are based on the events at Srath.

Booktrailer Review

I bought this for Independent Bookshop day and read it immediately. I was really immersed in the story of Will and Rose and it was a whirlwind of an adventure based in and and around the gold fields of New Zealand.

Will rescues Rose from a life of prostitution and they marry and go to New Zealand. Tragedy and misunderstanding separates them and the main story is Rose’s journey from then on. What a story this is! I was captivated by the misfortunes that she goes though and her reactions to them as then another man ‘rescues’ her and she ends up in Melbourne and then Scotland. Meanwhile, what has happened to Will?

The anticipation and excitement around the potential wealth that the discover of gold could bring is fascinating to read. Rose’s story was particularly interesting as although she is rescued by two men the story, her fate is not really her own. I admired her strength and resourcefulness but was saddened at her harsh reality too.

This was a cinematic read with colours and landscapes as vivid as that stunning cover. Scene setting Booktrail style was a treat as you get to see the goldfields and villages which are still there today. Life in a gold rush town was interesting and the characters fully fleshes and realistic.

There were the odd gripe in that I didn’t understand how two people could keep bumping into each other in such remote places but maybe everyone had the same idea to go to the Gold Rush hotspots. The ending too was a bit abrupt after such a complex journey. Still a very immersive and pleasurable reading experience getting there though.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Alchemy and Rose

Destination/location: London, New Zealand, Scotland Author/guide:  Sarah Maine  Departure Time: 1866

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