Monday, January 11, 2010

3 - Remarkable Creatures; Tracy Chevalier

Remarkable Creatures; Tracy Chevalier
In this fascinating historical novel set in the 19th century, Elizabeth Philpot is a smart, middle-aged (25) spinster, who has recently moved with her sisters to Lyme Regis England. Since a spinster must have an interest, Elizabeth quickly finds pleasure in trolling the beaches for fossils, labeling her finds and researching fossils. 

Mary Anning is a local girl from a poor family who was struck by lightening as a child. Self educated, it appears that somehow for her having been struck by lightening gave her a intellectual advantage.  Mary is obsessed with fossil hunting as well. She tries to help her parents by selling her finds to tourists.  When Mary discovers an intact dinosaur skeleton she gets noticed in the male-dominated field of paleontology.

Based on the real life fossil discoveries and scientific contributions of Mary Anning and, her 20 year friendship with fellow fossil hunter Elizabeth Philpott, Remarkable Creatures was an informative and entertaining read, even though I really have no interest in paleontology. The author did a terrific job of transporting the reader to another time and place while at the same time demonstrating the inequality toward women in the field of geology. The beach setting created an amazing sense of place, and the writing was both witty and engrossing. Recommended - 4.5/5 Stars

(Advance Review Copy provided by Amazon Vine program).

21 comments:

  1. I'm on the waiting list at the library for this one. Can't wait!

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  2. I love Tracy Chevalier and I haven't read a book set in Lyme Regis since The French Lieutenant's Woman. I want to read this!

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  3. This one sounds really good. I didn't really need more material to read, but I think I just found it.

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  4. I have at least one book by this author in the house and haven't got to it yet. Time I tried her I guess.

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  5. One of my friends has been moaning at me to read Tracy Chevalier books for ages. Iwill look out for this one.

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  6. I had no idea this is based on a true story! I'm dying to read it after your review.

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  7. Can't wait to ink my teeth into this one!

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  8. I haven't read any Tracy Chevalier, but I saw this one at work (don't I always?) and flipped through it and it seemed really interesting. The opening chapter about being struck by lightning really grabbed me! So glad to hear you enjoyed this one!

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  9. This one sounds good. I've been thinking of getting it for my reader.

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  10. I'm glad you like this since I've been looking forward to its release. This author has been hit or miss for me, but I definitely want to try this one.

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  11. This is another one I enjoyed, but haven't reviewed yet. Sometimes I'm such a slacker...

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  12. I just noticed (I hope they're new and I'm not blind) your thumbs-up/question mark icons for reviews! So great :-)

    I've been thinking about this one, but I've not read any of Chevalier's older books. Hmmm

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  13. Aarti...thanks! The thumbs up and down replaced the green and red smile faces for 2010!

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  14. Oh, man, I've really got to get to this book soon! There's a copy sitting on my shelf right now. I just need the time to read!

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  15. I've had such mixed reactions to her books but I'm pretty sure I'll give this one a try. It sounds great!

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  16. Thanks for your great review.
    I loved this...."Remarkable Creatures was an informative and entertaining read, even though I really have no interest in paleontology."
    When you can read a book about a subject that is not of your interest and like it...that's good!

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  17. I'm so glad you loved this book, because I did, too! And like you, I had no prior interest in paleontology.

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  18. Oh I want to read this book so bad.

    I haven't read anything by Chevalier, maybe this should be my first.

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  19. I really enjoyed meeting Tracy last week and hearing her talk about this book. Now I just need to carve out the time to read it!

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  20. Quite a unique story indeed! When I was a kid I was crazy about dinosaurs. My mom often tell people how I simply can't stop talking about them when I was little :D

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  21. I am a big fan of Chevalier's work, but had heard mixed things about this book. I am glad you enjoyed it and think I am going to search out a copy and give it a try. Thanks!

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