Remarkable Creatures

Remarkable Creatures

Book - 2010
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A voyage of discoveries, a meeting of two remarkable women, and extraordinary time and place enrich bestselling author Tracy Chevalier's enthralling new novel

From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has "the eye"--and finds what 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 vicious 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 unusual 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.

Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile from London, who also loves 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 stunning 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, is it a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship.



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Publisher: New York : Dutton, c2010.
ISBN: 9780525951452
9780452296725
Characteristics: 312 p. ;,24 cm.

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r
ryner
Oct 10, 2017

Another charming work by Tracy Chevalier: a fictionalized account of two very real women in the early 1800s, engaged in the decidedly unladylike pursuit of fossil hunting off the southwestern coast of England. Elizabeth Philpot, relegated to living in Lyme Regis with her three likewise unmarried sisters, takes up fossil hunting as a hobby and soon befriends young Mary Anning, a clever teenager engaged in subsistence collecting and sale as a means of supplementing her family's meager income.

I can only imagine what it must have been like to experience the excitement of fossil study in the days when scientists were only just beginning to piece together their significance, their inconceivable age, and how they related to living creatures of the modern world. An appealing read, especially for armchair scientists. Wish I had been there!

Miranda_Ericsson Aug 28, 2016

Chevalier has a rare gift for bringing history to life in fiction. Remarkable Creatures is the story of two women who made their mark on natural history in a time when women weren't allowed to publish or participate in academics. The story alternates between the perspective of an educated woman of some means and a working class woman with little formal education. Themes explored include gender roles, social class, natural history, and friendship.

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PeggyJ_0
Jul 11, 2016

Not a page turner, but I'm glad I kept with the book and finished it. Tracy Chevalier is a very good writer. I learned something about 2 remarkable women way ahead of their time.

LoganLib_Adults Jun 02, 2016

A wonderful fictional story of Mary Anning!

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BevCD
Dec 29, 2015

Mary Anning changed the way we view the world with her discovery of a fossil of huge import on the southern coast of England and her subsequent work as a paleontologist

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CatherineLibrarian
Feb 07, 2015

From the author of "Girl with Pearl Earring" comes a fictional account of Mary Annings's coastal fossil discoveries that set the scientific community in England alight, raised questions among the religious, and fueled gossip of a woman working in a man's field. Chevalier's familar style does justice to this tale of female friendship in a male profession. Great book to read on a winter coastal trip.

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 14, 2014

Set in the Regency period, this novel examines the relationship between an upper class young woman who has moved to Lyme Regis with her two sisters, and a young local girl named Mary who supports her family by selling the fossils she has become adept at finding on the coastline. Chevalier likes to test the boundaries of what is acceptable for females in the societies she depicts, and this novel extends to questions of class, gender, science and religion. An excellent choice for Austen or Chevalier fans.

dinowings Jun 13, 2014

While this is a delightful read for someone interested in Mary Anning or paleontology, not all of it is true to fact. The treatment of Colonel Birch's character is disrespectful considering he was one of Anning's greatest allies.

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CynScribbler
May 17, 2014

A wonderful, historical novel based on the lives of two women far ahead of their time. Their struggles to be taken seriously by 19th century men of science did not hinder their efforts. Mary Annings and Elizabeth Philpot's contributions to the field of natural history were some of the most important geological finds of all times and Tracy Chevalier has presented their story in this remarkable novel.

samdog123 Mar 12, 2014

It's been awhile since I've read any Tracy Chevalier titles--so glad I chose this one! Chevalier writes such wonderful historical fiction. The friendship between Mary and Elizabeth is wonderful and meaningful. Truly a magnificent fictional account of real life fossil hunter and discoverer Mary Anning who contributed so much to natural history and excavation of dinosaur bones. Although not well-known at the time, her contributions have become truly legendary. I love that Chevalier based this book on an actual person. She did the same thing so successfully with The Girl with a Pearl Earring.

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rtwete
Feb 27, 2011

Historical novel, based on life of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. Mary is a skilled fossil hunter and her finds keep her family from the poor house. Elizabeth is of a higher class, but poor too, in 1820's England. They become close friends, during Mary's childhood and after she is grown. Elizabeth helps widowed mother and Mary and brother when she can, with sales of fossils, etc. Assorted men take the credit for many of Mary's discoveries.

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