Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Review: Remarkable Creatures

It has been awhile since I've done a book review. After I transfered to Tianjin, I just didn't read much. Part of that is because I read SO MUCH in Beijing. Part is because I don't have to take the subway to work any longer. And part of it is because I've got other things to do now {cook! explore!}.

But, I finally got back on the bandwagon when a co-worker lent me Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.

From Goodreads:

In 1810, a sister and brother uncover the fossilized skull of an unknown animal in the cliffs on the south coast of England. With its long snout and prominent teeth, it might be a crocodile – except that it has a huge, bulbous eye. 
Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of thinking about the creation of the world.
Working in an arena dominated by middle-class men, however, Mary finds herself out of step with her working-class background. In danger of being an outcast in her community, she takes solace in an unlikely friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a prickly London spinster with her own passion for fossils. 
The strong bond between Mary and Elizabeth sees them through struggles with poverty, rivalry and ostracism, as well as the physical dangers of their chosen obsession. It reminds us that friendship can outlast storms and landslides, anger and jealousy.

I enjoyed this book. It was an easy read {took me about 2 days, and those were work days} and I liked the historical fiction perspective without all of the royal intrigue. Y'all know I love Philippa Gregory and Elizabethan plot novels, but sometimes a change is nice.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the strong female protagonists {shocker!}. Both of our main characters, Mary and Elizabeth never marry and generally don't care what others think. They pursue their passion for fossils, and have little regard for folks, especially men, who try and make it seem like they know about fossils when they don't.

Another great aspect of this novel is the emphasis on the relationship between the two women. They're bound by a common {and, for the time, odd} interest, but they help each other through some wonderful and some tough things. It was one of those BFF stories without all the fluff that drives me crazy.

In all, a great read, and great for those chilly winter days. In fact, I read this with a mocha at my local coffee shop and it was wonderful!

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've seen this one before. Which is funny because I definitely have read Tracey Chevalier's books before. Since I love historical fiction too, this sounds like one I'd probably enjoy as well.