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Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
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Remarkable Creatures (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Tracy Chevalier

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1,851None3,724 (3.92)319
Member:LARA335
Title:Remarkable Creatures
Authors:Tracy Chevalier
Info:HarperCollins (2009), Kindle Edition, 357 pages
Collections:2012
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (Author) (2009)

Recently added byprivate library, jilldk, KVictoria, tesskrose, CharlaOppenlander, MissSos
19th century (91) 2009 (13) 2010 (30) 2011 (18) audiobook (19) British (15) dinosaurs (31) Dorset (14) Elizabeth Philpot (19) England (134) evolution (44) female friendship (16) fiction (234) fossils (168) friendship (58) geology (25) historical (53) historical fiction (228) history (20) Kindle (12) Lyme Regis (49) Mary Anning (61) natural history (22) novel (33) paleontology (87) read (21) read in 2010 (17) science (51) to-read (34) women (70)
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» See also 319 mentions

English (146)  Spanish (5)  French (5)  Italian (1)  All languages (157)
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
I know a lot of people couldn't get past the "dryness" of this book. But I'm glad I finished it and blessed it with a little introspection. It is a good snapshot of the era and is very obviously a feminist novel. The characters were sometimes stark and sometimes vague but I felt that they all rang true. It was a realistic, if not always titillating, view of just how hard women could or could not "fight for their rights" at the time. ( )
  Angelina-Justice | Feb 3, 2014 |
I think I need to read a non-fiction account.. ( )
  dylkit | Feb 3, 2014 |
I have read this book group but it was already on my TBR, so this was no hardship. It took me slightly longer to get into this story than my previous read by Tracy Chevalier - The Girl with the Pearl Earring. However, it grew on me from about the half way mark when it got interesting. Although I have been to Lyme Regis, I didn't know much about Mary Anning.

This is typical historical fiction, but what I like is that we are not focussing on Britain's monarchs over the past years but one of our greatest and possibly our first palaeontologist. Although not trained in that field, she is perhaps more correctly, as written in the book a fossilist. Mary was trained by her father to search for fossils and this was the way, after Richard Anning's death, the family came to earn their living by selling on their finds to some of the great collectors and scientists. Upon meeting Elizabeth Philpott, Mary learns more about her finds. Elizabeth does not have Mary's natural ability to search and dig out these specimens but she can read and write and is learned to some extent in this field. Although, the relationship between the two very different people at the centre of the story was interesting, for me, the book really developed when the collectors were introduced and how they impacted on the relationship between Mary and Miss Philpott. Particularly Colonel Birch for whom they both harboured different feelings.

As usual a well written story with plenty of detail and description in location and setting. Likeable and believable characterisations weaving fiction alongside the factual information. I liked the nod to Jane Austen as having possible visited the Assembly Rooms and as the author mentions in her postscript Miss Austen was a visitor to the area so this was quite likely. ( )
  booketta | Feb 3, 2014 |
A novel based on the life of the famous early nineteenth-century fossil-hunter Mary Anning, who, among other things, unearthed both the first ichthyosaur and the first plesiosaur known to science. Which was no small thing in an era when the very idea the animals could become extinct was highly controversial and often considered blasphemous.

The novel is told partly from Mary's point of view, and partly from that of her friend Elizabeth Philpot (who was also a real person). And a surprising and remarkable friendship it was, given the significant differences in their ages and social classes. There's no grand drama to this story, though, no complicated narrative. It's just a simple tale of two women with a passion for fossils and a keen interest interest in what those fossils might say about the world around us, in a time and place when every social convention made pursuing that sort of interest difficult for women. But it succeeds beautifully at that, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Rating: 4.5/5. Which, objectively, might be a little generous, but I don't care. It hit exactly the right notes to appeal to me, personally, and that, of course, is the important thing! ( )
  bragan | Dec 1, 2013 |
Based on the life of Mary Anning, this historical fiction tells about the discovery of fossils and dinosaurs but also of a friendship between remarkable women. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
Unless you have a deep and unabiding passion for fossils, you'll want to leave this specimen alone.
added by Shortride | editUSA Today, Donna Freydkin (Feb 2, 2010)
 
Giant marine reptiles are not the only remarkable creatures in this book. Chevalier turns a warming spotlight on a friendship cemented by shared obsession and mutual respect across profound class fissures; a friendship between two women who were indirectly responsible for several male careers and ultimately (partially, very indirectly) for Darwin's insights. She also gives it what Darwin himself considered mandatory in a novel, a happy ending - or happy enough.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chevalier, TracyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lyons, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morahan, HattieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parry, CharlotteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
This is for my son, Jacob
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Lightning has struck me all my life.
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'but dying was no drama. Dying was cold and hard and painful, and dull. It went on too long. I was exhausted and growing bored with it.'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
From the moment she is struck by lightening as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is different. Though poor and uneducated, she discovers on the windswept beaches of the English coast that she has a unique gift: "the eye" to spot fossils that no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to gossip--and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with uncommon interests, she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter cold, storms, and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man.

Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster recently exiled from London, who shares her passion for scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.

Remarkable Creatures is a novel of how one woman's gift transcends class and social prejudice to lead to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century. Above all, it is a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship. [adapted from the jacket]
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When Mary Anning uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home on the English coast, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, and in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.… (more)

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