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.