Remarkable Creatures; Tracy Chevalier
2009 - Penguin
As I read this book for my book group it sounded like a story I heard before or a movie I had seen. I read the book and finished the review today, and when I went to post the review of Amazon, I saw that I read and reviewed this one in January of 2010 (6 years ago) duh! In 2010, I rated this 4.5/5 stars and today without reading my old review I gave it 4/5 stars.
Remarkable Creatures is a fictionalized story, set in the early 1800s, about two British women whose friendship and passion for fossils played a key role in furthering the science of paleontology.
As an infant Mary Anning, who was born to poor working class parents, was struck by lightening. Although three others near her were killed Mary survived, leaving her with a unique of spotting fossils that no one else could see.
Elizabeth Philpot, some 20 years older than Mary and considered a spinster, moved to Lyme Regis on the coast of England along with her sisters from London. She develops a newfound passion of trolling the beaches for fossils. It is pursing this passion that she meets Mary Anning, also a fossil hunter who was making a name for herself. Her finds helped to lay the groundwork for Darwin's theories on evolution. Some of her fossil treasures can be found in British museums and one in Paris.
I found the story interesting but, certainly not action packed but, the way the author made me feel transported to another place and time more than made up for the slower pace. I was not surprised to read how hard it was for these women to be taken seriously in scientific circles dominated by men. I loved that we got to hear each woman's story from there POV. I also enjoyed the imagery created and how easy it was to imagine how each felt and understand what each was thinking.
This book was chosen as a book group read. At first glance I thought it probably was not a "me book", but overall, I was glad I read this one. Girl With the Pearl Earring was another book by this author that was well done as well.
4/5 stars -- 2016 review
(Here is my 2010 review in case you are interested)