Title: Remarkable Creatures
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Publisher: Plume 2009
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading Challenges: TBR Reduction; Mount TBR; A to Z - R; 52 Books - W4
On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, poor and uneducated Mary Anning learns that she has a unique gift: "the eye" to spot fossils no one else can see. When she uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious community on edge, the townspeople to gossip, and the scientific world alight. After enduring bitter cold, thunderstorms, and landslips, her challenges only grow when she falls in love with an impossible man.
Mary soon finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster who shares her passion for scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy, but ultimately turns out to be their greatest asset.
I chose this book for our March book club. The book has sat on my shelves for a few years just waiting for me to pick it up. I was drawn in by the premise of a fictionalized account of two of the first female paleontologists. I really enjoyed learning more about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. I loved the descriptions of finding the various fossils and of the Lyme landscape. The story kept me going through the novel. Unfortunately the writing style gave me pause. Something about the sentence construction occasionally jolted me out of the world. The voices of the two characters didn't quite seem natural. Because of my slight pause, I knocked off a star. A good read, but not the best one...