Rated Reads

Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier

Rated: None

In Remarkable Creatures, we are taken into the world of Britain’s early fossil hunters — amateurs and professional scientists who are digging ancient treasures out of the earth, trying to place these new species into an ever-expanding body of knowledge of our earth’s history. What gives this story its unique perspective is that our main characters are women, truly unique specimens in a man’s world.

Mary and Elizabeth are two women in different phases of life and in different social classes. Both have an obsession with finding those treasures in stone. But in the mid-19th century, religion and science were battling out creation vs. evolution. These women are incredibly talented, but their time period and their own weaknesses create considerable drama, while also molding a significant bond.

While it didn’t move particularly quickly or have any really heart-wrenching or emotional moments, I did enjoy the book. I’ve never read a novel about the subject — but I have read many novels that take place in this time period, and it was fun to make connections. I think the narrative was very well done — but the author didn’t really make serious efforts to make the dialogue or language ever feel particularly British. There was a difference between Mary’s rougher speech and Elizabeth’s more polished, but I would’ve liked it to have felt like the characters were more British.

I think what I liked best was the natural history, the parts of the book that were about those God vs. nature discussions. It was amazing to think about living in a world where people did not know about dinosaurs and what a stretch of the imagination that must have been.

Rated: None, for three mild language uses and one very veiled reference to sex.

— Reviewed by Corinne Edwards

Corinne Edwards is always happiest when a book is in her hand. If her current read needs to be closed for a short time, either in her backpack while she leads her three rambunctious children on adventures, or on her nightstand while she sleeps, that's okay too. Her book thoughts and reviews land at her bookish blog, The Book Nest.

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  • Remarkable Creatures
  • by Tracy Chevalier
  • Rated: None
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: