Book Title: A Golden Fury
Author: Samantha Cohoe
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
In her debut novel A Golden Fury, Samantha Cohoe weaves a story of magic and danger, where the streets of Oxford and London come to life, and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final chapter.
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 causes anyone who tries to make it to 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.
Samantha Cohoe 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 attended Thomas Aquinas College, a Great Books college in California, and graduated with a BA in liberal arts. After studying Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School, she decided academia wasn’t for her.
In the midst of marriage, child-bearing, and the identity crisis that followed, she rediscovered her early love of writing and adverbs. In 2011, she moved with her family to Denver, where she currently divides her time between teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs.
Author Interview with Samantha Cohoe
1. Congrats on your young adult book debut! What was your inspiration for A Golden Fury?
The first glimmer of an idea that I had for it came from learning, ages ago, that Isaac Newton had been an avid alchemist. I thought, what if alchemy had been officially studied somewhere like Oxford? The idea went very different places from there, but alchemy was the root of it.
2. What was your favorite part of your writing process?
In general my favorite part of writing is drafting, but in particular for A GOLDEN FURY, my favorite part was writing the beginning. I was surprised by how easily I slipped into Thea’s voice and how natural it was for me to inhabit her mind. I could tell it was working right away, and after the agonizing seven year process of writing my very first (unpublished) book, that was an amazing feeling.
3. What was your least favorite part of your writing process and what did you do to get through it?
My least favorite part was coming up with a completely different ending after my agent told me the last third of the book didn’t work. And she was right! I’m not really sure what got me through it other than a whole lot of whining. But I did get through it, and the ending now is what it should always have been.
4. If you could spend one day with your main character, what would you do? Are there any places you both would visit?
If Thea and I had the day to spend together, I’d somehow convince her to chill out, take a break, and come read at the park with me. We’d pack a really nice picnic and I’d refuse to let her bring anything she’s reading for work. I would probably need to pick out a novel for her, but she’d really like it since I’m very good at recommending books, and also I know her taste.
5. What has been your favorite part of being a debut author so far?
Three things stand out. My cover, and the variations of that. Seeing it for the first time. Holding my ARC for the first time. My cover reveal, and all the positive reactions to it. I’m really lucky, my cover is so beautiful. Second, I’ve met some really fantastic fellow debuts who are just bastions of support for me. And third, getting to tell people I’m a writer with a book coming out. That part still hasn’t gotten old.
6. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Take it seriously before you have any external reason to. If you only write when you feel like it, you won’t get anything done. If you only take the time that other people think makes sense you for to take to do it, you won’t have enough time to finish. You have to take it seriously before it can become serious. Even if it looks like a self-important hobby to everyone else.
7. Is there anything else you would like to let the readers know about your book?
It’s a standalone! I always conceived of it that way. The story I told is the story I had for Thea. I didn’t hold anything back.
A Golden Fury is one of those debuts that is equally enchanting as it is powerful. It’s a story that captivated me from page one until the end. The story is filled with exceptional character development, engaging storyline, and charming historical settings. I enjoyed the aspects of magic and science and I learned a great deal about alchemy from Thea, a brilliant teenage alchemist.
“The mind has power over the body that no one fully understands.”
The setting in A Golden Fury stole my breath away. It’s beautifully described and depicted wonderfully. I felt like I was right there in France and then in England. The historical setting was just everything in this book, and I was blown away by it all. Cohoe fills this story with captivating descriptions of the setting and also the characters. Samantha Cohoe’s writing is strong and filled with lush prose. Cohoe knows how to describe a scene in a way that keeps the reader glued to the page. I was loving her descriptions of the plot and characters and how she filled the pages with thoughts of magic and science and alchemy.
“I would not need to change myself to suit the world. I would change the world to suit me.”
Thea, I felt, was a relatable and reliable main character. She’s strong in her own way and fights to prove her worth. She needs to prove, not just to herself but her mother and the other alchemists, that nothing good can come from creating the Philosopher’s Stone. Thea wants to change history as a teenage alchemist. She knows her strengths and she knows she deserves the credit for the work she’s doing. I was here for all her character development, which is a big part of the story. The story focuses more on the plot and Thea than romance, which I surprisingly enjoyed (I’m usually a huge romance fan, but this book held it’s own without a strong romance element).
Overall, A Golden Fury is a unique story with an enchanting historical setting and well-developed characters. It’s a solid debut from a new and promising author, and I look forward to Samatha Cohoe’s next novel.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Check out the amazing bloggers on this book tour!
Prize: Win a finished copy of A GOLDEN FURY by Samantha Cohoe [US Only]
Starts: October 13, 2020
Ends: October 20, 2020
Thank you, TBR and Beyond Tours, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!