By Tracy Chevalier
(Dutton Adult, Hardcover, 9780525951452, 320pp.)
Publication Date: January 5, 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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Remarkable Creatures, the new novel by Tracy Chevalier, focuses on the life and work of 19th century fossil hunter Mary Anning, and how her discoveries helped change scientific understanding of the world. Chevalier is the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring. More at NPR.org
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