Rosalie's Reviews > Natural Attraction

Natural Attraction by Catherine Haustein
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it was amazing
bookshelves: novels

This novel has been categorized in various ways: a historical romance, an adventure novel, a novel of the Old West. The descriptions are accurate, but what I appreciate most about the book is its subtle wit and its good-humored, naive, endearingly goofy narrator, Clementine. Another aspect I appreciate: though the plot hinges on societal constraints preventing a woman in the 1870s from pursuing her dream to find work as a naturalist, the novel doesn’t ignore Clementine’s racial and class privilege as a white person with a good (if unorthodox) education. As she takes on a male appearance and moves west, the novel makes clear that it's not just her presumed maleness but also her whiteness that earns acknowledgment and respect for her work.

In a way, you could argue that Clementine’s main love interest here is science, and she is so eager and well-intentioned that you can't help sharing her sense of wonder at the natural world and her enthusiasm about contributing to our knowledge of it.

I was introduced to the author's work a couple of years ago, when she contributed a wonderfully dystopic short story to the anthology I edited. That's going to be the basis of her next novel, and I can't wait to read it!
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 2, 2016 – Shelved
December 2, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
December 2, 2016 – Shelved as: novels

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