A while ago, I received a copy of “Remarkable Creatures” from my friend Jennifer over at Literate Housewife -www.literatehousewife.com. I had been meaning to get to reading it, but it had languished a bit on my overstuffed bookshelves. Last week I finally got it, and I am so glad I did!
When I first heard of this story, it was explained as “two women in the 1800’s who are friends and find fossils together on a beach in England”. My first thought was “that’s it?? Sounds like a total snooze!”. However, while essentially this book is about two women (Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot) in the 1800’s who are friends and find fossils together on a beach in England, it is so much more. It is a story about friendship, about rivalry, about class, about social mores, about women’s rights. It traces two women, who, by the way are TRUE HISTORICAL CHARACTERS (somehow I had missed this fact and that always makes a huge difference to me) and how they became friends and colleagues in finding some of the most incredible fossils (and those supporting what were at that time controversial scientific theories) of the 1800’s. Along the way, they become rivals for a man’s attention and desire, struggle with the differences in their classes, and fight for women’s placement among scientist (a male dominated and controlled field at that time).
I have read all of Tracy Chevalier’s books and do love her writing which is why I was drawn to give this book a try — and I am so glad I did!
I give this book 4 1/2 Stars!