Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
A Novel

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Synopsis

A voyage of discovery, two remarkable women, and an extraordinary time and place enrich this New York Times bestselling novel by Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Last Runaway.

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.

Remarkable Creatures is a stunning historical novel that follows the story of two extraordinary 19th century fossil hunters who changed the scientific world forever.
 

About Tracy Chevalier

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TRACY CHEVALIER is the New York Times bestselling author of five previous novels, including Girl with a Pearl Earring, which was translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film. Born and raised in Washington D.C., she lives in London with her husband and son.
 
Published October 28, 2009 by Plume. 320 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Remarkable Creatures

Kirkus Reviews

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She forms an unlikely alliance with Mary as they comb the beach together, and when Mary’s discoveries of several complete dinosaur fossils (including a pterodactyl) bring the scientific community to her door, Elizabeth acts as spokeswoman for her less confident friend.

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The Guardian

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Mary teaches Elizabeth how to find, to clean and, as Chevalier represents it, to empathise with fossils.

Aug 29 2009 | Read Full Review of Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

BC Books

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(And it has to be said that for all her virtues, Chevaliers always have the whiff of the writing class about them.) Nevertheless, if you know Anning, you should read this book – it might not teach you anything new, but it will enjoyably put flesh on the bones of her story.

Sep 17 2009 | Read Full Review of Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

The Globe and Mail

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Tracy Chevalier's new novel traces the lives of two women who defied the conventions of their day

Mar 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

''Mary Anning leads with her eyes.'' Turns out they're eyes that can sweep the desolate rockstrewn beaches of Lyme Regis and see what no one else can: fossils.

Jan 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

The Telegraph

In the same decade that Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, a working-class girl from Lyme Regis named Mary Anning discovered some of the first pre-dinosaur fossils in England, including the ichthyosaur in 1811 and the plesiosaur in 1821.

Aug 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

Pajiba

Colonel Birch manages to have Mary show him many good fossils to be found, and takes advantage of her, not physically, but by keeping Mary from earning money for her family as she points out all of the good ones for him to find.

Mar 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

the Philpot Museum in Lyme Regis, quite active today, was built on the site of Mary Anning's birthplace.) It's Elizabeth, in Chevalier's dramatization, who encourages Mary to learn to read, and teaches her to label her fossils using Linnaean classification instead of Anning's childish diminutive...

Jan 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

About.com

No Suggested Reading More Historical Fiction Related Articles Mary Anning - Profile of the Famous Paleontologist Mary Anning Liz Quiz Answer - Medieval History Remarkable Creatures - Book Review of Remarkable Creatures January 2010 New Book Releases - New Books in Ja...

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Historical Novel Society

Surviving a lightning strike is only one of Mary Anning’s noteworthy attributes: from girlhood on she achieves international renown as a fossil hunter in the shore village of Lyme Regis, discovering and restoring the first skeletons of ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs (among other things).

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Historical Novel Society

In this novel, Tracy Chevalier turns her novelist’s eye to the life of Mary Anning who, although reasonably well known as a pioneering fossil hunter, has never received the attention she deserved and remains something of an enigma.

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MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Elizabeth is the main voice of the novel – educated, analytical, pragmatic – and it is she who teaches Mary how to read letters, and especially how to read people.

Nov 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

BookRack

: Interestingly, although Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot are characters in the book they were real fossilists – Mary, the more famous of the two, and Philpot known for her collaboration with Anning.

Jul 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Remarkable Creatures: A Novel

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