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Remarkable Creatures
by Tracy Chevalier

Published: 2010-01-05
Hardcover : 312 pages
8 members reading this now
9 clubs reading this now
7 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
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 lightening as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, ...
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Introduction

(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 lightening 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.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Could Mary have succeeded without the help of Elizabeth, or someone else of her station?
Discuss the role of women in Victorian society
Did you think the "romance" was necessary to the story, or a distraction?
by FTessa (see profile) 04/10/12

Who really are the Remarkable Creatures? The fossils discovered or the women themselves?
by central_coast_bc (see profile) 05/02/10

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Seafood, of course
by FTessa (see profile) 04/10/12
You'd have to serve seafood, of course! Or at least those little shell-shaped cookies.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Remarkable creatures, indeed!"by FTessa (see profile) 04/10/12

This is a work of historical fiction focusing on two remarkable women who advanced the understanding of natural history with their discoveries. Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot had little i... (read more)

 
  "Remarkable Creatures"by nbaker (see profile) 04/04/12

I almost felt a better name for this book was "unremarkable creatures". I even struggled giving it a thumbs up, but the book did have its moments. While the story of Mary's struggles in poverty, her... (read more)

 
  "Enjoyed the fact it was based on real woman"by central_coast_bc (see profile) 05/02/10

When I first came across a review of this book, I really liked the premise 19th century women who found fossils, etc. I had no idea it was based on real women. This novel will help keep the interesting... (read more)

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