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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CharlotteReads
Dec 08, 2018

Loved this fictionalized account of an early 19th century friendship which did influence/change our history of geology! I liked how the debate about the validity of fossils and fossilized creatures was not only framed by period social issues (Jane Austen style) but also in terms of how people handled their religious faith in the face of evidence which challenged Bishop Usher's dating of the age of planet earth, which some folks still, oddly, believe. My disclaimer: I believe science can make spiritual belief stronger. I love geology, science, and Jane Austen and this book rocks!

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dlh1
Nov 21, 2018

I love a book that teaches me about a world unknown to me. I found myself Googling the creatures found by Mary and Elizabeth, as well as wanting to know more about their lives. I soon found out that "Remarkable Creatures" was about more than just fossils, as Mary and Elizabeth were magnificently unique and remarkable creatures, as rare as the fossils they unearthed.

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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Jul 25, 2018

The book Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier is a great book about the first discoveries of these creatures in the cliffs of a small town. The remarkable creature Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot discover is in fact one of the first dinosaur fossil to be found and it is interesting to see the reactions of people who have never heard of dinosaurs and the explanations they come up with. I like how the science and fossils is blended with the lives and struggles of the characters to create a book as remarkable as the creatures it is about. I thought that the different men sometimes got confusing and I'd have to go back a paragraph and check what the name was. (Four stars)
- @Redibis of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

SCL_Heather Jul 11, 2018

I've been meaning to read this book for years and I am so glad I finally did. It's a perfect combination of British historical fiction and a little scientific learning with a feminist twist. It makes me happy when strong, independent women of the past finally get some of the credit that is due.

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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!

TSCPL_Miranda 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.

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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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