The Alchemist’s Key by Traci Harding


The Alchemist's KeyTitle: The Alchemist’s Key
Author: Traci Harding
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authorsFantasy, Spirituality
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Voyager
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: Why would he tell you that?

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Wade Ashby has just inherited his grandfather’s estate in England. The Baronage has a business, manor and large fortune. It’s the biggest break of his life – but Wade is inheriting a lot more than he bargained for…

Constructed over four centuries, Ashby Manor is rich in exquisite art, furnishings, architecture and symbolic mosaics. These beautiful antiquities hold the key to a puzzle that has haunted the Barons of Ashby for centuries and now a strange time phenomenon is taking place within the walls of the Manor. Wade must unravel the enigma of his legacy before all of history’s ghosts are unleashed.


Harding always sweeps me away on an epic journey that is both unexpected and thrilling. Somehow, she not only manages to weave an amazing world of mystery and mayhem, her trips into spirituality and the other leave you thinking about it in a way that no other author is able to inspire. The Alchemist’s Key was definitely such a journey for me, and one that was a little less in depth and intense than some of the other Traci Harding books which grace my shelves.

Although this is primarily set in England, I love that the main character is an Aussie. It’s nice to have Australian main characters, and focusing on someone whose family immigrated from England is something that I can completely relate to – my family (on both sides) immigrated from England. It also helped to make Wade a little more of a fish out of water – the Australian culture and way of life doesn’t exactly suit the aristocracy. And it’s always fun to see how someone who is very much an easygoing Aussie being thrust into a world of class and caste.

Although this is the second time that I have read this novel, the thing that jumps out most at me is the assumptions that are made about Wade and Hugh from the very beginning. Although this story is about a family history, mystery and time travel, there is a lot about the assumptions that we make about people on their appearances. First impressions and prejudice run amuck in the character’s relationships, and it’s fun to see how long it takes for this to be sorted and these prejudices to be removed.

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Image source: Goodreads

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