Book Title/Author: Remarkable Creaturesby Tracey Chevalier
Publisher/Year Published: Dutton Adults 2010
How my grubby hands got a hold of this book: I won this via a giveaway on Goodreads.
Why I read this book: It sounded intriguing and definitely different from anything I've read.
Rating: 4 stars--good start into my introduction of historical fiction.
My first Chevalier novel and I'm in love. I have Girl with a Pearl Earring & The Lady and the Unicorn sitting on my shelf and I cannot wait to devour those. I'm not well read in the historical fiction genre but if they read like this, I'm a fan!
The novel is about two "spinsters" who develop an unlikely friendship over their love of combing the beaches and cliffs for fossils. Both of these women, Mary Anning & Elizabeth, are social outcasts in their own respective ways and their passion for these fossils thrusts them into a "man's world." Both characters have to grapple with the gender, social, and class prejudices of the day as they try to be recognized for their discoveries and who they are as remarkable women with incredible gifts, wiles, & passion.
First, I had no idea who Mary Anning was and I am now incredibly intrigued to find out more. I love learning about obscure figures of the past. I suppose if you were really into the subject matter you might know of her but I enjoyed learning of someone I've never heard of who had a profound impact on science. I also love trues stories of people breaking through barriers and doing something extraordinary that exceeds the expectations of society.
I loved the characters of Mary & Elizabeth but felt some of the other characters fell a little flat. I forgot about some of them and wished they would have be developed a little more. I never felt bored with the repeated beachcombing scenes but I do feel perhaps some could have been cut back a little so to make room for a little more character development & dialogue to really bring the characters to life. I've heard that her characters are normally really wonderful & lively but I have nothing to compare it to. I will soon find out as I plan on reading her other novels very shortly!
I absolutely loved reading about obscure people in history. What are some of your favorite reads about obscure people in history? Or do you have any other recommendations for historical fiction novels as I haven't read too many?