Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

About the book

From the moment she’s struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear Mary Anning is marked for greatness. When she uncovers unknown dinosaur fossils in the cliffs near her home, she sets the scientific world alight, challenging ideas about the world’s creation and stimulating debate over our origins. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is soon reduced to a serving role, facing prejudice from the academic community, vicious gossip from neighbours, and the heartbreak of forbidden love. Even nature is a threat, throwing bitter cold, storms, and landslips at her.Luckily Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly, intelligent Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster who is also fossil-obsessed. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty and barely suppressed envy. Despite their differences in age and background, Mary and Elizabeth discover that, in struggling for recognition, friendship is their strongest weapon. Remarkable Creatures is Tracy Chevalier’s stunning new novel of how one woman’s gift transcends class and gender 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.

Reviewed by Andover Library reading group:

Enjoyed by whole group. An easy read. Loved the characters and the historical detail.

Star rating: ***

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5 thoughts on “Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier”

  1. Review by CC Readers:
    Interesting but not exciting, of more interest to us living in the South as we were familiar with the area and the subject, both the fossils and the women. Feminist theme well developed.
    Star rating: ***


  2. Review by Perspectives Reading Group:
    In the style of Jane Austen but with more aplomb. Strong women who fought against societies conventions. A very readable book.
    Star rating: ***+


  3. Review by Enjoying Books Reading Group:
    We much enjoyed the marriage of real characters with a novel. Informative about the history of fossils. We all felt a trip to Lyme Regis was called for after our reading of the book.
    Star rating: ***+


  4. Review by Alton Library (Thursday) reading group:
    Interesting, easily accessible. Raised the issue of women “out/ahead of their time” and peoples natural affinities. Revealing about the social situation of women at this time. Provoked worthwhile discussion.
    Star rating: ***


  5. Review by Ringwood Readers
    Cracking good story. Good insight into social history and well written fiction. Lyme Regis brough to life.
    Rating: ****


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