Jen's Reviews > Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith

Charles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman
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's review
Jul 21, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: ya, nonfiction, biography-and-memoir
Read in September, 2011

Charles Darwin was a great man, who accomplished great things in his life. But as everyone says, behind every great man is a great woman. And that was certainly true for Charles Darwin. For him it was his wife, Emma. Charles and Emma tells the story of the two of them and their relationships: to each other, to science and to God. Because see, Emma was very religious. And Charles and everyone knew that the science he was working on would change how people viewed religion and creation. Emma feared for her husband, hoping that his work would not land him in hell. The two truly loved each other, and Heiligman brings that love to life with her conversational writing style and words taken from letters and writings of Charles and Emma themselves. This is a truly unique look at a well-known figure.

I really enjoyed the way the book brought both Emma and Charles to life, and it made you feel like you wanted to know them and be in their lives. And some of the letters they wrote to one another made me want to revive the art of letter-writing. Not that I could do it as well, but it was so romantic. The science behind the book, and Charles's journey to write The Origin of Species, was also really interesting. I'd never read anything about him before, and the way he was so cautious and worried about it was fascinating, as was the race to make sure he was the first to publish his book.

While I didn't like the book as much as I hoped to, I was charmed by it and would recommend it overall.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Thrasher Letter writing needs to return in a big way. We should start a fad that turns into a trend.

message 2: by Jen (last edited Sep 23, 2011 05:10PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen I'm up for that. I just need to brush up on my penmanship. If my letters are going to be kept for posterity, I need to make sure they look good. Also, I think I need my own fancy wax seal. I'm sure that will help the quality of my letter writing.

message 3: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Thrasher A fancy quill would be nice too.

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