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.
©2010 Tracy Chevalier; (P)2010 Penguin
This is really an enjoyable book! The narration is excellent. If you have an Itouch, you have to get the App, Jurrasic, from Itunes. It is a virtual tour of the exact location the book takes place in! You can actually view the cliffs and shoreline of Lyme Regis.
Very well-drawn characters based on historical figures that really takes the reader to the times and places of Victorian-era England. It's a lot of fun to "meet" Charles Lyell and William Buckland as well as, of course, Mary Anning. I'm going to insist that my daughter read/listen to this and, if you have a daughter at all interested in the natural sciences, this is a must-read.
The narrators were superb. One reads the chapters from Mary Anning's point of view with a Cockney accent and the other reads the parts of Elizabeth Philpot with an aristocratic tone befitting the character's high-class background.
I could have used more of the science and a little less of the drama but I recognize I'm a little more science-hungry than your average reader. It's probably about right for most folks? Definitely will get you Googling various fossils and the Lyme Regis.
This is the remarkable story of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot based on their TRUE lives. They are two strong women who form an unlikely friendship, based on a shared interest in fossil collecting. I felt as if transported in time to join these two unforgettable characters on their quest. Tracy Chevalier should be commended for giving these two historical figures their due. Thank you ladies.
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I enjoy every thing this author writes. I especially like that she examines little parts of history that truly have a fascinating tale to tell. Her characters are appropriate to the time of the story and always interesting to follow as they proceeed along the story line. I hope she writes another one soon
An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
If science, particularly the origination of our understanding of dinosaurs and the theory of extinction, bores you, you will have trouble getting through this book. There is a lot of information about how fossils were first discovered in Lyme Regis, England (all true), and the difficulties some people (particularly religious people) had in believing in what these bones represented.
BUT it is also a story of friendship and of the first hints of women's rights. It is hard for my children to imagine a world in which a decent woman couldn't walk anywhere alone and wasn't allowed to join the geological society, but also all true.
I enjoyed the characters, and I do recommend this book.
Because I prefer mysteries with suspense and drama, it was a little tame for me, but is stiil well worth reading.
I enjoyed this historical fiction about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot in their search for fossils on the shores of England in the early 1800's. The story was alternately told by both women as it revealed the prevailing attitudes of the scientific community against women. We take so much for granted in our day and age. Back in the early 1800's, people were driven by class and convention. It was unheard of a woman to leave the house alone. It was necessary for her to be accompanied by other women or by a man.
I grew up about 40 miles away from Dinosaur Provincial Park in Southern Alberta and spent many happy hours searching for fossils, climbing hills, and picking cactus spears out of my feet. Perhaps that is why this book appealed to me. I could relate to joys of hunting fossils.
I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook narration by Charlotte Parry. She gave distinctive voices to each of her characters. I've added her to my list of favorite narrators.
Nicely narrated, enjoyed the story. Not hugely fast moving, but if you like older fiction such as that of Jane Austen this will probably appeal - it references this kind of novel, but provides a counterpart to the lives of women in this period.
I really wanted to like this book. I did finish it, but found it unsatisfying. I think it would have made a better non-fiction biography. There wasn't much depth to the characters.
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