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Remarkable creatures
Chevalier, Tracy
Adult Fiction CHEVALI

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Avatar for EmilyEm EmilyEm said:
A friend sent me the earlier published UK copy so I have enjoyed a book before others have had the chance. Chevalier takes on such interesting historic characters and these two fossil hunters in Lyme Regis in the early nineteenth century are as remarkable as the prehistoric creatures they extracted from the shoreline. That they are women makes them all the more fascinating. This is a perfect little book for this year recognizing the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species 150 years ago. The naturalists and geologists in this book are his precursors and were asking questions he asked. The book is written in alternating chapters from Elizabeth Philpot’s and Mary Anning’s points of view. That and what seemed like stilted narrative—particularly Elizabeth’s—detracted some for me. Perhaps, it just recognized the tight constraint of women’s lives and my own impatience with their circumscribed circumstances! Jane Austen, living in the area for a time at the same time, is mentioned. Even a letter she wrote to her sister mentioning Mary’s father is revealed in the epilogue. Great fun.
posted Dec 12, 2009 at 7:59AM
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