Alchemist’s Potion by Bonnie Hamre
Ellora’s Cave
ISBN 1-4199-0588-0
Reviewed by Amelia



Julian of Wimborne Minster is an alchemist in search of the Philosopher’s Stone, which will bring health and eternal salvation to the alchemist who discovers it.  One day he accidentally spills potion on his skin, causing burning and great pain.  The potion also brings renewed youth to Julian, who is fifty years old.  His muscles and skin are renewed.  He’s also randy as a bull.

After his transformation, members of Julian’s household crowd into his workshop.  Among those people is Mistress Phillipa of Wareham.  Phillipa is a widow.  After her husband died, Julian took her in as his chatelaine.  In his newly transformed body, Julian turns to Phillipa for sexual release.  She gives herself to him, even if he is a bit rough at times.

As word of Julian’s potion spreads, his older male residents ask to be transformed. Julian reluctantly agrees, and then turns the potion into a nice side business.

Trouble brews, however, when the king hears of the potion.  He summons Julian to court and orders him to make his army young and strong.  Then the king decides that he wants Julian to turn his powers to more profitable pursuits, like filling his coffers with gold.

Alchemist’s Potion is not your typical love story.  At first, I had a hard time liking Julian, who seemed harsh and uncaring, wanting only physical passion from Phillipa.  I termed his potion as the medieval version of the little blue pill, causing insatiable physical hunger in a man.  But the more I read, the more I liked him.  I was pleased when he found out for himself that love is more than just physical attraction.

Julian’s interesting solutions to King Henry’s demands made me laugh out loud.  Phillipa’s obvious caring nature added a great deal to this book.  I loved the way she stood up for the women in the story, whom she felt were abused by the men’s rampant sexual needs.  Alchemist’s Potion is a poignant historical tale that will delight readers.


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