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In Sarah C. Patten’s WWII-era novel, “The Measure of Gold” (Ashland Press, March 2, 2021), it is the fall of 1940 and Germany has just invaded France. Across the ocean, in Sweetwater, Tennessee, Penelope receives an urgent letter from her childhood friend, Naomie, urging her to Paris. Bereft from the loss of her widowed father, Penelope leaves her life and reunites with he In Sarah C. Patten’s WWII-era novel, “The Measure of Gold” (Ashland Press, March 2, 2021), it is the fall of 1940 and Germany has just invaded France. Across the ocean, in Sweetwater, Tennessee, Penelope receives an urgent letter from her childhood friend, Naomie, urging her to Paris. Bereft from the loss of her widowed father, Penelope leaves her life and reunites with her lost friend. There, she meets Naomie’s brother, the brilliant, mad alchemist Fulcanelli and his mysterious apprentice Lucien. As Penelope falls headlong into the esoteric world of alchemy and espionage, she is assigned to spy on the clients of a powerful French brothel. She listens, learns, and dances to seduce one of the most infamous murderers of World War II in a desperate calculation to save Lucien. Through the devastating magic of life, Penelope learns that alchemy has far more to do with the person than the element. An epic story of betrayal and courage, “The Measure of Gold” showcases the heroine’s journey during wartime, and serves as a powerful reminder of what’s needed for us to transform from stone to pure gold.


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In Sarah C. Patten’s WWII-era novel, “The Measure of Gold” (Ashland Press, March 2, 2021), it is the fall of 1940 and Germany has just invaded France. Across the ocean, in Sweetwater, Tennessee, Penelope receives an urgent letter from her childhood friend, Naomie, urging her to Paris. Bereft from the loss of her widowed father, Penelope leaves her life and reunites with he In Sarah C. Patten’s WWII-era novel, “The Measure of Gold” (Ashland Press, March 2, 2021), it is the fall of 1940 and Germany has just invaded France. Across the ocean, in Sweetwater, Tennessee, Penelope receives an urgent letter from her childhood friend, Naomie, urging her to Paris. Bereft from the loss of her widowed father, Penelope leaves her life and reunites with her lost friend. There, she meets Naomie’s brother, the brilliant, mad alchemist Fulcanelli and his mysterious apprentice Lucien. As Penelope falls headlong into the esoteric world of alchemy and espionage, she is assigned to spy on the clients of a powerful French brothel. She listens, learns, and dances to seduce one of the most infamous murderers of World War II in a desperate calculation to save Lucien. Through the devastating magic of life, Penelope learns that alchemy has far more to do with the person than the element. An epic story of betrayal and courage, “The Measure of Gold” showcases the heroine’s journey during wartime, and serves as a powerful reminder of what’s needed for us to transform from stone to pure gold.

30 review for The Measure of Gold

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andra Mihaela

    I will begin this review by saying that I got an early copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. In this book we follow Penelope, who receives an message from her childhood friend, Naomie, to come to Paris and return a specific object. Once there, Penelope gets entangled with Fulcanelli - a great alchemist and Naomie's brother, and his apprentice, Lucien, in hopes of turning the war's tides through science. In my opinion, the author accomplishes everything that she wants, except th I will begin this review by saying that I got an early copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. In this book we follow Penelope, who receives an message from her childhood friend, Naomie, to come to Paris and return a specific object. Once there, Penelope gets entangled with Fulcanelli - a great alchemist and Naomie's brother, and his apprentice, Lucien, in hopes of turning the war's tides through science. In my opinion, the author accomplishes everything that she wants, except that my expectations going into the novel were quite different. I misjudged the actual emphasis of the War in the story, and the actual espionage element. I will begin by talking about what is good, to later on expand on why I felt disappointed. I believe that Penelope stayed true to her characterization throughout the whole novel. She is depicted as having extremely few human connections in the world(her father, who is now deceased, and Naomie- whom she had not met since childhood). So her naive, childlike and somewhat undeveloped/impaired why of seeing people is on point. She is cerebral, and always, but ALWAYS, falls back to what she knows best. Her journey, discovering what love is, was interesting to see and gave her character depth. I will say upfront, I'm at least satisfied with the ending...I feel it was the best decision for Penelope to grow into a complete person, and not to depend on others. A good thing given her status as a scientist/alchemist. Another positive is the overflowing subject of alchemy on the page. This is expected and welcomed with the premise. I really enjoyed Penelope's constant reference to how Newton would have handled a situation or an aspect of her life( for e.g. love) and the obsession with reducing pain and uncertainty to formulas, to something solvable and easier to accept. And lastly, the atmosphere created was great and the writing style is accessible. Enjoyed the positive view on a certain minority group and the mysticism associated with them. Now, I give this book only 2.5 stars. After reading a couple of chapters, I realized that this is more of a love story than a war story. We spend soooo much time in Penelope's head, going through the same concerns, the same facts that it was tiring. It wouldn't have been a problem, if we didn't have a page limit. With that being said, the first part of the book is extremely slow and uneventful - we are in Paris in 1940 under German occupation, but we might as well have been in any other place, in any other time, with the amount of information concerning the state of the city, it's people and the situation in general. We don't leave Fulcanelli's secret place almost at all, and when we do...oh boy...we take field trips to see art. Yes, I get it, connection between science and art, but it was sooo easy to enter that place...just saying..>..> And, not to mention, why do they even do all of that, the motif behind their group I mean? They don't really have an impact or any interaction, so we could just as well swap it with any other..like obsession with Newton, discovering a specific thing, etc, and it wouldn't have modified the story at all. That was first logical hiccup, the first loophole/convenience in the story. Next comes when the action begins...we spent so much time for that one week or two in the apartment, but get one chapter with her training as a spy, and even more so, a page with another time passage! Not good for the passing...it felt like the author suddenly remembered she has a page count and tried to speed things up. And I want to mention..that training..didn't convince me at all, and her glaring mistake at the end of it...it was a complete no-no (you cannot expect trained spies not to observe when something is missing, especially when you have to be invisible, non-existent ,etc. to fulfill your role in the war!). Lucien...now...dear Lucien is seriously a question mark for me...He is supposed to be Penelope's driving force to act in the war. But he isn't! When we get to the core of the story...her working at the brothel...Lucien just appears again after not being part of her life for some time. Just like that, he is there among a group of Nazi soldiers, which, by the way, are searching for him....>...>...another problem for the narrative...I mean..really? That place is supposed to be fully protected/ guarded by Nazis..how on earth did he enter? Why was he left alone? Did anybody see him and decided: yes, this is normal? And his role in regard to our main character...a lover without any charm in my opinion...I just didn't see the motif for the insta-love. :( I felt that all the characters could have played a bigger role: the girls at the brothel..a story about women in horrible circumstances in such a trying time would have completed the narrative amazingly! Especially with the little mention about the treatment of such women after the war! The group of scientists; Naomie whom which Penelope is obsessed! Missed opportunity... There are more things, like how Penelope decided to listen to the Germans...who read this book know what I'm talking about..>..>...I will only say it made me slightly uncomfortable to read that(not to mention...why wouldn't they search those places before having a great time? After all, it is a vulnerable moment for everyone involved and, surely, a bunch of suspicious criminals would have done so). And how convenient finding Lucien was, saving him at the end, and how little push-back we have from the "villains". I guess all this is on account of the length of the story, but I still didn't like it. In the end, at least we have a realistic outcome. Few people would have done differently in the same situation, when is a well-known fact that war or any traumatic experience has a separate time with separate set of rules not applicable outside of that situation. I will recommend this book to those of you wanting to see more of a love story, and not minding easy solutions as much as me. I believe this book is an enjoyable read for the right audience. Sadly, that isn't me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    JM

    The Measure of Gold is a story about alchemy, the French Resistance during WWII, the complexity of relationships and love as well as the inner strength individuals possess. Sarah Patten is a strong writer. Her writing is in-depth at times and then at other times flows easily. As I read further into the book, I became immersed in the story. I was anxious to see what was going to happen to Penelope, those she held close and how she would use her training to help herself and others survive the atroc The Measure of Gold is a story about alchemy, the French Resistance during WWII, the complexity of relationships and love as well as the inner strength individuals possess. Sarah Patten is a strong writer. Her writing is in-depth at times and then at other times flows easily. As I read further into the book, I became immersed in the story. I was anxious to see what was going to happen to Penelope, those she held close and how she would use her training to help herself and others survive the atrocities of the German invasion. The book evoked many different emotions. I found myself moving from sadness, to hope, to worry, to anger and to understanding. I'm so pleased I was able to read this book and definitely recommend it!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I was looking for an engaging historical novel to read and Sarah Patten’s, The Measure of Gold was brought to my attention. Books about the French Resistance during WW II interest me and therefore I was enticed to read this novel. The Measure of Gold is unique. The story is centered around the mysterious work of alchemists. After her father died, Penelope leaves her home in Tennessee and moves to Paris upon the request of her childhood friend, Naomie. As a young adult, Naomie is a French gypsy i I was looking for an engaging historical novel to read and Sarah Patten’s, The Measure of Gold was brought to my attention. Books about the French Resistance during WW II interest me and therefore I was enticed to read this novel. The Measure of Gold is unique. The story is centered around the mysterious work of alchemists. After her father died, Penelope leaves her home in Tennessee and moves to Paris upon the request of her childhood friend, Naomie. As a young adult, Naomie is a French gypsy involved in the Resistance. Upon her arrival in Paris, Penelope joins the Resistance group, the Royal Society, and meets Naomie’s brother, Fulcanelli and his apprentice, Lucien. She works alongside these men and others as they study and perform the mysterious work of alchemists. Penelope is intrigued by alchemy and Lucien, with whom she falls in love. After some time, she moves to London for extra training in espionage. Upon her return to France, Penelope, the spy, is sent to work in a brothel as a maid and dancer. While working she listens for clues from the relaxed Nazi soldiers who frequent the brothel. In addition to war tactics, Penelope learns of the capture and torture of her beloved Lucien. Sarah Patten’s descriptive writing captivates and enlivens the reader’s senses. She brings us into the fascinating world of alchemy and alchemists. Her character, Penelope creates four rules of human behavior based on Isaac Newton’s works and applies them to the Nazis. After learning about Lucien’s imprisonment, she develops a fifth rule of human behavior relating to love - “Humans will betray you.”. I appreciate Patten’s writing skills and her unique story. To me, however, I found the ending and a few points along the way, disappointing. I particularly thought the ending wrapped up too quickly and predictably. Overall, The Measure of Gold held my interest for its originality.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Anderson

    Sarah C. Patten's The Measure of Gold is a compelling World War II love story with a scientific twist. The plot features scientific espionage, the importance of friendship, and the power of love. Set in southeast Tennessee, Paris, and Great Britain, The Measure of Gold introduces characters that are multi-faceted and believable. Reminiscent of classical mythology, the imagery of birds is used throughout. Patten gives scientific and mathematical details along with vivid descriptions of places and Sarah C. Patten's The Measure of Gold is a compelling World War II love story with a scientific twist. The plot features scientific espionage, the importance of friendship, and the power of love. Set in southeast Tennessee, Paris, and Great Britain, The Measure of Gold introduces characters that are multi-faceted and believable. Reminiscent of classical mythology, the imagery of birds is used throughout. Patten gives scientific and mathematical details along with vivid descriptions of places and events. The main character Penelope leaves Tennessee in October 1940 after her scientist father dies, leaving her without family. Her childhood friend Naomie has written asking her to come to Occupied Paris and bring the special necklace which Naomie had given her years before. Flashbacks are used by the author to chronicle their friendship. Once in Paris, Penelope becomes part of the Royal Society, a Resistance group headed by Fulcanelli, Naomi's half-brother. Penelope is attracted to Lucien, a scientist there. The group applies alchemy principles and Newton's Laws to make life difficult for the Nazis by producing such things as fake, fiery deodorants and exploding rats. These hidden scientists work hard against constant German threats and lack of money and supplies. Part II of the book is full of suspense, as Penelope trains as a spy, works in a brothel as a maid gathering information, and eventually infiltrates a German prison. This story shows the meaning of transcendent love. It will keep you reading and make you think. Brenda Neal Anderson High School English/World History Teacher, 41 years

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Vincent

    I’ve read so many World War II novels that sometimes it feels like they all bleed together in my mind. This one was very unique, given from the view point of a young scientist from Sweetwater Tennessee joining the resistance in the heart of Paris. This story is one combining a love of science with love for one another. The undercurrent of alchemy marks the changes of the elements and points the reader to notice the changes also in the characters as they encounter their unique challenges in the w I’ve read so many World War II novels that sometimes it feels like they all bleed together in my mind. This one was very unique, given from the view point of a young scientist from Sweetwater Tennessee joining the resistance in the heart of Paris. This story is one combining a love of science with love for one another. The undercurrent of alchemy marks the changes of the elements and points the reader to notice the changes also in the characters as they encounter their unique challenges in the war.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca O

    This story traces Penelope’s life journey. As a young girl she encounters gypsies in Tennessee, as a teen -- alchemists/scientists in Paris, and then resistance spies in England. After training in England, she gathers intel while working in a famous Parisian brothel. The most important information discovered is learning where her one true love is being imprisoned and a plan to free him. Quite a novel snapshot of this historical time, WWII in Paris, because it is seen through the lens of alchemy. This story traces Penelope’s life journey. As a young girl she encounters gypsies in Tennessee, as a teen -- alchemists/scientists in Paris, and then resistance spies in England. After training in England, she gathers intel while working in a famous Parisian brothel. The most important information discovered is learning where her one true love is being imprisoned and a plan to free him. Quite a novel snapshot of this historical time, WWII in Paris, because it is seen through the lens of alchemy. Many transformations are attempted but the most striking change occurs as Penelope transforms from a free-willed teen to a strong-willed woman. I enjoyed the descriptive writing of Sarah Patten. She definitely left me wanting more!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bev MacDowell

    Magical Realism in Nazi occupied Paris...wonderful! Sarah Patten captures the feeling of a people taken over. A small amount of magic, produced with great effort, within a cadre of alchemist...is just right in fighting the evil. We witness the growth of a Tennessee girl into a self reliant woman. My favorite parts were the visits to the abandoned Deschamps family mansion in Paris. I so enjoyed this variation on an abundantly written about WWII Paris.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Diane Burris

    I am a slow reader. Dyslexic, too. But I love a well written story and this one was immediately engaging and hard to put down. I read 120 pages the first night and finished the whole 400+ pages in three days - practically a record for ME. The setting in primarily Paris, France in the 1940's during WWII. The main character is an intelligent, courageous, loyal young American woman from Tennessee who sets sail for Europe at the urgent request of a beloved friend. After a long, hard journey across th I am a slow reader. Dyslexic, too. But I love a well written story and this one was immediately engaging and hard to put down. I read 120 pages the first night and finished the whole 400+ pages in three days - practically a record for ME. The setting in primarily Paris, France in the 1940's during WWII. The main character is an intelligent, courageous, loyal young American woman from Tennessee who sets sail for Europe at the urgent request of a beloved friend. After a long, hard journey across the ocean, she is met by the devastating horrors and heartbreak of war and the brutality inflicted by those in power. But this is not a gorily graphic portrait of war. At its heart are several love stories expertly woven together with golden threads of altruism, alchemy, and perseverance. This is a smart new author that I hope will continue writing. Well done, Sarah C. Patten.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Angie Cullen

    I have read many WWII fiction novels, and this one ranks very near the top. This is a creative submersion into unique vantage point of a period in our world's history, with incredible writing style and characters that are unforgettable. Being from very near Sweetwater TN, it was fun to have commonality with character of the alchemist, and I enjoyed the scientific edge of the story. I highly recommend this incredible book, start reading it today, you won't be sorry!! I have read many WWII fiction novels, and this one ranks very near the top. This is a creative submersion into unique vantage point of a period in our world's history, with incredible writing style and characters that are unforgettable. Being from very near Sweetwater TN, it was fun to have commonality with character of the alchemist, and I enjoyed the scientific edge of the story. I highly recommend this incredible book, start reading it today, you won't be sorry!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mackenna Finley

    The Measure of Gold is a welcome retreat from reality. It would be impossible to write this review without first praising the lyricism that Patten brings to her prose and description. I found myself underlying her beautiful, evocative lines from page on to the very end, savoring each of them as they appeared on the page. Patten brings historical Paris to life through Penelope’s experience with a clear command of language that carried me through this novel. As Penelope journeys to Paris and falls The Measure of Gold is a welcome retreat from reality. It would be impossible to write this review without first praising the lyricism that Patten brings to her prose and description. I found myself underlying her beautiful, evocative lines from page on to the very end, savoring each of them as they appeared on the page. Patten brings historical Paris to life through Penelope’s experience with a clear command of language that carried me through this novel. As Penelope journeys to Paris and falls into a life filled with war, alchemy, espionage, and love, it is the strength of her characterization that makes this novel worth reading. Patten creates a protagonist that is surprisingly bold and dynamic. Readers will have no trouble believing in and empathizing with Penelope throughout her journey. I should also praise the central alchemical motif threaded through this novel. The deep and detailed exploration of alchemy reveals extensive research and clear intentions on the part of the author. This magical realism was one of my favorite components of her book. However, I found a few significant issues within The Measure of Gold as well. The most glaring of which I find with Lucien’s character. So much of Penelope’s motivation in the novel is intrinsically tied to her love for Lucien. However, as he appears on the page so far, I struggle to understand the depth of her feelings for him and where they come from. I might attribute this to the pacing of the first half of the book. Too much space was given to exposition, scene setting, and developing the importance of the war in the first few chapters. The pacing then abruptly picks up and I found some of the intensity of the love story lost in this shift. This is not to say that the depth of Penelope’s love isn’t apparent; it is. What I find myself questioning is the genesis of these feelings, which in turn leads me to question their authenticity. Given how strongly bound this is to the plot’s momentum, I had trouble moving past it. All this being said, one of the most important reasons I give this novel four stars is tied to the central question I ask of all books that begin a series: how likely am I read to read the books that follow? When it comes to The Measure of Gold the answer is a resounding very likely. The world building and linguistic prowess delivered by Patten leave me wanting more in the best possible way. I am excited to see what is to come for Patten and this series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Houston

    If The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone had a child, it would grow up to be The Measure of Gold by Sarah C. Patten. Part magical realism, part thriller, part historical fiction with some bodice ripping romance thrown in, The Measure of Gold suspends WWII history. Patten’s novel gives history a spin, and then invites the reader to enter into an experience of satisfying storytelling against the backdrop of Nazi occupied Paris. What results is an enjoyable and thought provoki If The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone had a child, it would grow up to be The Measure of Gold by Sarah C. Patten. Part magical realism, part thriller, part historical fiction with some bodice ripping romance thrown in, The Measure of Gold suspends WWII history. Patten’s novel gives history a spin, and then invites the reader to enter into an experience of satisfying storytelling against the backdrop of Nazi occupied Paris. What results is an enjoyable and thought provoking “escape” read, abundant in both tension and beauty, vivid descriptions and heart songs of lost and found love. Ms. Patten begins her tale in Sweetwater, Tennessee, with the circumstances of Penelope, a girl coming of age without her mother, raised by her single, scientist father obsessed with the ancient art of alchemy. Befriended by French gypsies who move though the US with mysterious secrets, Penelope later sets off on her heroine’s journey to find her childhood friend, and to deliver a mysterious stone. She delivers her object, and in the process, is transformed herself, by love, by war and by a little bit of alchemic magic. Penelope becomes immersed in a world of desperation, spies, resistance, prostitutes, the hope of alchemy, and her own unbreakable spirit coming of age in the midst of war. This novel moves at a gentle pace and is vividly written. The short chapters flow together, often weaving a steady plot with the more suspended, cerebral musings of Penelope’s thoughts and memories. I found The Measure of Gold satisfying and intriguing, wielding its own alchemy. Patten’s novel has the power to transform an monotonous pandemic shut down weekend into a colorful time traveling adventure. A good read, indeed!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I will admit that it took me a while to settle into this story, but once I did I couldn’t put it down. I found the inclusion of alchemy with historical fiction difficult to wrap my head around. Everything about the story was so real and believable, yet the alchemy thread in the story was mystical and for a realist like myself, difficult to buy into. But as the book progressed I began to better understand the author's inclusion of alchemy and I enjoyed the weaving of science, math, and art throug I will admit that it took me a while to settle into this story, but once I did I couldn’t put it down. I found the inclusion of alchemy with historical fiction difficult to wrap my head around. Everything about the story was so real and believable, yet the alchemy thread in the story was mystical and for a realist like myself, difficult to buy into. But as the book progressed I began to better understand the author's inclusion of alchemy and I enjoyed the weaving of science, math, and art throughout the story. As with any book, there were parts that I wish had been shorter (the time in the apartment in Paris) and parts that I wish had been more deeply developed, such as Penelope’s training to be a spy. The second half of the book was much more interesting, at times uncomfortable, and very suspenseful! I found myself cheering on Penelope and feeling proud of her bravery, quick thinking, and selflessness. I tend to judge books (and movies) by the effect they have on me when it’s over. A good book leaves me wanting more of the characters, more of the story, and more information about the subject matter. After reading The Measure of Gold I have been researching the role women played in the French resistance and I have read about the history of alchemy. I wonder what life will be like for Penelope when she returns to Tennessee and how will her experiences with love and war will translate for her in the future? Thank you to Sarah Patten for a novel that was entertaining, educational, and intriguing! I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    𝓑𝓸𝓸𝓴 𝓡𝓮𝓿𝓲𝓮𝔀! 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝗦𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗵 𝗖. 𝗣𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻 ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75/5 Thank you to @booksforwardpr for sending me an ARC of this title! Ugh this book.. I can’t even begin to explain to you how badly I wanted to DNF it, but I persevered. And I am sure glad I did! If you have the patience to make it through 300 pages with not a lot happening, you could read this. The last 120 or so pages are really what make this an incredible novel. I am so glad I held on, because usually books that I have this feeling ab 𝓑𝓸𝓸𝓴 𝓡𝓮𝓿𝓲𝓮𝔀! 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝗦𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗵 𝗖. 𝗣𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻 ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75/5 Thank you to @booksforwardpr for sending me an ARC of this title! Ugh this book.. I can’t even begin to explain to you how badly I wanted to DNF it, but I persevered. And I am sure glad I did! If you have the patience to make it through 300 pages with not a lot happening, you could read this. The last 120 or so pages are really what make this an incredible novel. I am so glad I held on, because usually books that I have this feeling about never end up getting better. I am happy to say I was wrong about this one. Following Penelope on her epic story filled with alchemy, betrayal, courage and transcendent love was something I’m not usually drawn towards. I LOVED that Penelope ended up being a spy who infiltrated a powerful brothel. I’m just sad it took 300 pages to hit that point of the story. The several layers of alchemy really made this story more and more interesting. I feel like I actually learned a lot and it really helped to tie everything together. The cast of characters was wide and diverse, and I had a few favorites along the way. All in all, an okay book.. Phenomenal at those last 120 pages. Just a shame it took so long.. But maybe this will make me hold on for those DNF books? Probably not. 😂 Thank you again to @booksforwardpr for providing me with an ARC of this novel!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nanc

    The Measure of Gold is about a remarkable young woman with deep roots in Tennessee. After the death of her beloved father, Penelope is called to Nazi occupied Paris. She finds love in Lucien at the Alchemy Lab/home of Fulcanelli at 52 rue Laffitte. Penelope is trained by Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the UK and then to work in a Brothel in France for the Resistance. There are many layers in this book. Yes, it is about alchemy, love, the Resistance, treachery and the horrors of war. This The Measure of Gold is about a remarkable young woman with deep roots in Tennessee. After the death of her beloved father, Penelope is called to Nazi occupied Paris. She finds love in Lucien at the Alchemy Lab/home of Fulcanelli at 52 rue Laffitte. Penelope is trained by Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the UK and then to work in a Brothel in France for the Resistance. There are many layers in this book. Yes, it is about alchemy, love, the Resistance, treachery and the horrors of war. This book is also chocked full of history, the complexities of human relationships and oddly modern symmetries. I mean, Newton invented Calculus while in isolation during a pandemic? I love the way Sarah Patton paints a picture and sets a mood with her words: “There were a handful of men stirring beneath blankets along the shadowed walls, and the remaining four were eating by the window. With so little food and space to sleep, there seemed to be a breach in the room between the weary and the hungry, and as the morning sun drew across the floor, the breach widened.” I look forward to more from this talented author.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beth Roberts

    Who doesn't want to travel to Paris right now? And, escape. The Measure of Gold is a brilliantly drawn look at grief, love, science, and war. Traveling with young Penelope from Sweetwater, TN to Paris, France during the WWII era feels distant and yet remarkably close. The fierce passion of Fulcanelli and the Parisian alchemists that Penelope meets, searching for every possible way to win the war through the use of science and alchemy, feels similar today to what our scientists are furiously doin Who doesn't want to travel to Paris right now? And, escape. The Measure of Gold is a brilliantly drawn look at grief, love, science, and war. Traveling with young Penelope from Sweetwater, TN to Paris, France during the WWII era feels distant and yet remarkably close. The fierce passion of Fulcanelli and the Parisian alchemists that Penelope meets, searching for every possible way to win the war through the use of science and alchemy, feels similar today to what our scientists are furiously doing globally as well. Patten's description of Paris as a place "where life held all of the silence and tension of an empty stage readied for a grand production" is haunting and familiar. It is easy to step into Penelope's shoes, filled with loss and grief, but also hope when she encounters love and Lucien and the intoxicating world of alchemy. There is magic in this book and it makes the reader believe in magic as well, even during trying times. Patten's Fulcanelli states, "The universe possesses so much magic. Put your ear to it and tune it." This is a book truly worth putting your ear to.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    The Measure of Gold is a novel set in Paris during WWII. Central to the story is Penelope, a young woman who takes us from her birthplace of Sweetwater, TN to Paris, London, and Scotland as she fights with the Resistance. Armed with her late father's scientific teachings, she sweeps us into her world of alchemy, chemistry, and magic to aid in a search for ways to thwart the Germans. It is, also, a story of romance that teaches her the value and pain of love. The author, Sarah Patten, pulls you i The Measure of Gold is a novel set in Paris during WWII. Central to the story is Penelope, a young woman who takes us from her birthplace of Sweetwater, TN to Paris, London, and Scotland as she fights with the Resistance. Armed with her late father's scientific teachings, she sweeps us into her world of alchemy, chemistry, and magic to aid in a search for ways to thwart the Germans. It is, also, a story of romance that teaches her the value and pain of love. The author, Sarah Patten, pulls you into this story with intrigue and action, and introduces us to a myriad of unforgettable characters. This is her first novel and Bravo for a well-written and, obviously, well-researched first work!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steven Shelendich

    The Measure of Gold is an intriguing historic novel, predominantly taking place in Paris during the second world war. I loved the fascinating tidbits about Sir Isaac Newton, the anti war underground, women’s survival and unexpected love. Focussing on a few characters to tell stories of the stress and battles of the times, I was swept up in their challenges, rooted for their successes, and surprised with their outcomes. The author brilliantly enriched the story weaving concepts of alchemy through The Measure of Gold is an intriguing historic novel, predominantly taking place in Paris during the second world war. I loved the fascinating tidbits about Sir Isaac Newton, the anti war underground, women’s survival and unexpected love. Focussing on a few characters to tell stories of the stress and battles of the times, I was swept up in their challenges, rooted for their successes, and surprised with their outcomes. The author brilliantly enriched the story weaving concepts of alchemy throughout the book: its history, science and philosophy. A unique, beautifully written novel that shouldn’t be missed!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gina R Mitchell

    The Measure of Gold by Sarah Patten is a compelling fictional tale tying the WW2 French Resistance to the mystic of alchemy. The author’s writing style is quite enjoyable. She pulls you into the story and doesn’t let you go until the very end. I love a good historical fiction novel, and this one did not disappoint. It’s always entertaining to see how an author works real life events and people into the story of the fictional characters. This book is well worth your time to read. I believe fans of The Measure of Gold by Sarah Patten is a compelling fictional tale tying the WW2 French Resistance to the mystic of alchemy. The author’s writing style is quite enjoyable. She pulls you into the story and doesn’t let you go until the very end. I love a good historical fiction novel, and this one did not disappoint. It’s always entertaining to see how an author works real life events and people into the story of the fictional characters. This book is well worth your time to read. I believe fans of historical fiction, WW2, and of course, love, will enjoy this tale. I received a copy of the book for review. This is my honest, unbiased opinion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tami F

    The prologue of a letter grabbed me and didn't let go. I love the combination of science, magical realism, and romance. I was drawn in by the setting in Paris among the French Resistance in WWII and by best friends Penelope and Naomie. The sexual tension between Penelope and Lucien kept me engaged as it grew in the lab of alchemists where they, among many other things, translate Newton's lost papers in the secret room together during the night. A pace that is soothing. A story that is poignant, The prologue of a letter grabbed me and didn't let go. I love the combination of science, magical realism, and romance. I was drawn in by the setting in Paris among the French Resistance in WWII and by best friends Penelope and Naomie. The sexual tension between Penelope and Lucien kept me engaged as it grew in the lab of alchemists where they, among many other things, translate Newton's lost papers in the secret room together during the night. A pace that is soothing. A story that is poignant, fun, and intriguing. An entertaining read that is also quite smart.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Molly Hitchcock

    The Measure of Gold, by Sarah Patten was a delightfully different read. Knowing almost nothing about alchemy I was intrigued by the connections of elemental to personal transformation and the mythical and mysterious idea of transmutation. I found myself slipping away to read a bit more and being taken in by the story and carried along; delighted. An excellent choice for bookclubs as it lends itself to reflection and discussion. I've heard that a good book either serves as a "mirror" or a "window The Measure of Gold, by Sarah Patten was a delightfully different read. Knowing almost nothing about alchemy I was intrigued by the connections of elemental to personal transformation and the mythical and mysterious idea of transmutation. I found myself slipping away to read a bit more and being taken in by the story and carried along; delighted. An excellent choice for bookclubs as it lends itself to reflection and discussion. I've heard that a good book either serves as a "mirror" or a "window", and this book contains both. An impressive first novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

  21. 4 out of 5

    laura k bowers

    The Measure of Gold is a story about alchemy and the human spirit during World War 2. It is based around an improbable and courageous story of an American woman from Tennessee traveling to Natzi occupied Paris based on a letter written by a childhood friend. Blind faith in her friend, like her belief in the teachings of science, leads her on a winding path of mystery and discovery. Sarah Patton writes this beautifully crafted story that is equal parts mystery, historical fiction, and at the core The Measure of Gold is a story about alchemy and the human spirit during World War 2. It is based around an improbable and courageous story of an American woman from Tennessee traveling to Natzi occupied Paris based on a letter written by a childhood friend. Blind faith in her friend, like her belief in the teachings of science, leads her on a winding path of mystery and discovery. Sarah Patton writes this beautifully crafted story that is equal parts mystery, historical fiction, and at the core a love story. Unraveling the plot slowly to leave the reader in suspense at every turn.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Denisedr

    Although I love reading books dealing with WWII, I have never read anything about alchemy before so this book was a new adventure for me. I found it interesting and a different take on the resistance movement in France. This is the story of a naive, lonely, young girl who leaves Tennessee for Paris during the war to be with her childhood friend. Her experiences there, her determination to find and save her friend, her love for Lucien and her intrepid courage make for an interesting, charming and Although I love reading books dealing with WWII, I have never read anything about alchemy before so this book was a new adventure for me. I found it interesting and a different take on the resistance movement in France. This is the story of a naive, lonely, young girl who leaves Tennessee for Paris during the war to be with her childhood friend. Her experiences there, her determination to find and save her friend, her love for Lucien and her intrepid courage make for an interesting, charming and unusual story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    This book was beautifully written, with characters that you easily become attached to. Penelope is a young alchemist who travels to France after receiving a letter from an old friend. Before long she is helping a group fight the Nazi forces, trained to be a spy, and falling in love. Penelope's growth and transformation is what made this book a favorite. My only qualm is that the ending seemed a bit abrupt. I would have loved just a bit more explanation and resolution. But besides that, it was ve This book was beautifully written, with characters that you easily become attached to. Penelope is a young alchemist who travels to France after receiving a letter from an old friend. Before long she is helping a group fight the Nazi forces, trained to be a spy, and falling in love. Penelope's growth and transformation is what made this book a favorite. My only qualm is that the ending seemed a bit abrupt. I would have loved just a bit more explanation and resolution. But besides that, it was very enjoyable.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Zimmerman

    I was so excited about this book and desperately wanted to love it but, ooof, it did not do it for me. Of the issues I took with it, (aside from the constant use of the problematic term to describe the Romani) few bothered me more than the main character’s ineptitude. She wouldn’t have lasted the “average” *six weeks*, let alone how long she actually lasted as an SOE agent (that is, once the book actually got to that). Meandering and endlessly ruminating on theoretical jargon for the sake of rum I was so excited about this book and desperately wanted to love it but, ooof, it did not do it for me. Of the issues I took with it, (aside from the constant use of the problematic term to describe the Romani) few bothered me more than the main character’s ineptitude. She wouldn’t have lasted the “average” *six weeks*, let alone how long she actually lasted as an SOE agent (that is, once the book actually got to that). Meandering and endlessly ruminating on theoretical jargon for the sake of rumination and flowery language, this book was difficult to read for me to commit to and finish.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    “The Measure of Gold” is an interesting story that connects France, in the midst of it greatest political crisis, with rural Tennessee roots. It’s refreshing to read younger authors who’ve studied the details of World War 2 in Europe, who then interweave their own fictionalized stories into its timeline. Victory, liberation, and even salvation come to both Europe, and to her characters as well. The author also develops the novels’ characters in believable ways. I recommend the book highly.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I love reading WWII books and this one did not disappoint. I love being transported back in time on a secret adventure. The Measure of Gold tells a story of a girl leaving Tennessee to travel to Paris with only a letter and a hope for something new. The characters are so well developed that I found myself having a difficult time putting it down! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an entertaining escape. Excellent job, Ms. Patten. Thank you!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Law

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Measure of Gold! I love a good love story set in Europe with elements of alchemy and science. This novel fit the bill. Normally it can take me a few tries to really get into a book. But not this one. I was instantly invested with Penelope’s journey and didn’t want to put the book down. Easy to read and follow. Exciting and refreshing. The quarantine blues were really getting to me but The Measure of Gold gave me a great escape! If there was a sequel, I would read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauri

    The Measure of Gold is a beautifully written story about Penelope’s journey to France during World War Two. Her incredible inner strength moves her forward through many impossible situations. She bonds quickly with many intriguing characters. Despite having many of them let her down she keeps moving forward. The combination of science, realism and magic made this a very enjoyable read. Finishing the book left me with so many questions. I’m hoping the next book is a continuation of her journey.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    A combination of historical fiction and magical realism is something I haven't read much of. The story of Penelope and her journey to discovering herself and finding the kind of love she needed was a good journey Some parts were a little confusing but that may have been my lack of experience with magical realism I enjoyed the story and loved Penelope and her bravery *Won in a Goodreads giveaway A combination of historical fiction and magical realism is something I haven't read much of. The story of Penelope and her journey to discovering herself and finding the kind of love she needed was a good journey Some parts were a little confusing but that may have been my lack of experience with magical realism I enjoyed the story and loved Penelope and her bravery *Won in a Goodreads giveaway

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sydney McAbee

    I am a great fan of World War II books about the underground resistance, especially when women are showcased. The heroine of the story is Penelope. She leaves rural Kentucky to join her dearest friend, Naomi in the fight against the Germans. Sarah's research is thorough and she entertwines the historical facts with creative fiction. I would definitely recommend this book . I am a great fan of World War II books about the underground resistance, especially when women are showcased. The heroine of the story is Penelope. She leaves rural Kentucky to join her dearest friend, Naomi in the fight against the Germans. Sarah's research is thorough and she entertwines the historical facts with creative fiction. I would definitely recommend this book .

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