Joanna Lloyd's Reviews > The Naturalist's Daughter

The Naturalist's Daughter by Tea Cooper
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Jan 01, 2018

it was amazing

A fabulous journey into the nineteenth century world of scientific and naturalist discoveries, a time when The Royal society in London, headed by Sir Joseph Banks, was at its most powerful. It was men who understood the complexities of science, not women, but Tea Cooper has challenged this erroneous belief with her story of Rose Winton and Tamsin Alleyn. At first it was difficult to know whether this was a love story, or a story of two unconventional, determined women fighting for recognition in the midst of prejudice and sexism. On finishing the book I decided it was both and that’s what I so loved about it.

It begins in Australia in 1808 with Charles Winton’s obsession with studying the ornithorhynchus animus, also known as the platypus. His daughter, Rose shares his obsession and together they study and record in words and pictures the movement and habits of this strange animal. One hundred years later a young woman researcher, Tamsin Alleyn, receives documents from The Royal Society in London which hint at journals and records kept by Charles Winton which she believes hold answers to one of the great natural mysteries of the time.

When a message is received at the Mitchell Library bequeathing them a journal belonging to Charles Winton, Tamsin is sent to a small country town to retrieve it. A continuous series of events prevent her taking possession of the journal, which increases her determination to uncover the mystery surrounding this book. The story swings between two centuries and two women, Rose and Tamsin, as each follow their passions – Rose’s to convince the Royal Society her father has not fabricated a hoax and Tamsin’s to pursue possession of the valuable journal and unearth Rose’s story.

This is a book rich with history, intriguing scientific facts, twists and turns and a satisfying ending. The characters are complex and well developed and the surroundings intimately portrayed. I felt as if I was on a quest with the characters to discover all the half-hidden, long forgotten pieces of an enthralling puzzle and couldn’t stop reading until they were all in place. A definite must-read.
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Reading Progress

October 13, 2017 – Started Reading
October 20, 2017 – Finished Reading
January 1, 2018 – Shelved

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