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Remarkable Creatures
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May 2020: Other Books > [Poll Ballot] Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier - 5 stars

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Joy D | 3182 comments Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier - 5 stars - My Review

Historical fiction based on the lives of real people, amateur paleontologists Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning, in the early 1800s in Lyme Regis, England. Elizabeth is an educated lady who has relocated from London, and Mary is a working-class daughter of an impoverished cabinet maker. They become unlikely friends, bonding over their love of fossils and searching for them by the sea. When Mary unearths a skeleton of what appears to be a large crocodile, it ultimately leads to their interaction with well-known male paleontologists of the day.

The narrative alternates perspectives between Elizabeth and Mary. They are based on real people and Chevalier writes them into life, complete with obsessions and idiosyncrasies. The two women face a number of obstacles, including a male-dominated society that minimizes the role of women and church officials that do not support the concept of extinction. The reader can feel a sense of injustice when Mary is not even given credit for discovering the skeleton. The period is portrayed beautifully. I particularly liked how the authors shows the tremendous gap in scientific knowledge at the time the fossils are initially discovered.

This book weaves together history, science, unconventional women, and a solid storyline, so it is no surprise that I enjoyed it tremendously. It vividly portrays the thrill of discovery and inspired me to research the people behind the story. I have read three of Chevalier’s novels and this one is my favorite by far.


LibraryCin | 8115 comments Did you know there's a nonfiction book about Mary Anning, as well? I'll have to look up the title...


Joy D | 3182 comments LibraryCin wrote: "The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World by Shelley Emling."

Thank you for this info! I am adding it to my TBR.


message 5: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7226 comments I am adding this one too-looks like on I could get trough!


message 6: by DianeMP (new) - added it

DianeMP | 396 comments Thank you for the excellent review of Remarkable Creatures. It's been on my TBR for a little while and your review has prompted me to move it up on the list.


Joy D | 3182 comments DianeMP wrote: "Thank you for the excellent review of Remarkable Creatures. It's been on my TBR for a little while and your review has prompted me to move it up on the list."
My pleasure, Diane, hope you enjoy it!


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