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Remarkable Creatures Paperback – 11 Sep 2014
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‘A stunning story, compassionately reimagined’
‘Chevalier recently stated that making fossils sexy was one of her chief aims in writing Remarkable Creatures. With this very entertaining book, she has certainly succeeded’
‘An enthralling novel of female friendship and fossil hunting’
WOMAN AND HOME
‘Chevalier shows her skill for working history’s lost individuals into far-reaching fiction’
About the Author
Tracy Chevalier is the author of five previous novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue, Falling Angels, The Lady and the Unicorn and Burning Bright. Born in Washington, DC, she moved to London in 1984, where she lives with her husband and son. She has a website at www.tchevalier.com.
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my credulity a tad, was what differentiated this book from being a mere biography. Her research, as ever, was extremely thorough and I enjoyed the descriptions of the places, houses, dress and manners of Jane Austen's time. In fact I couldn't put it down and stayed up most of a night reading it, when I had meant to pace it out and enjoy it more slowly. I'm now going to play catch up with the novels I have missed.
The writing as you'd expect from Tracy Chevalier is good; the narrow social constraints and expectations provide a backdrop for the women's activities,Lyme Regis and its beaches with their evocative names are excellently described. Also the dangers of life in that era are also brought out not only landslips when fossil hunting but also the difficulties of travel and the risks from inadequate medical care.
My gripes with the book were the slightly odd pacing - it seemed to have a slow beginning and a rushed ending and a soapy sentimental quality that intruded periodically particularly in the interactions between the Anning family & the Philpots. I was particularly irritated by the plot device of the jealousy over Colonel Birch and the rift that springs from this; it felt hackneyed and supported that trite view of women who can't get on because men upset their pretty little heads!
Nevertheless, it is worth a read and I enjoyed it - though not as much as her other novels.
This gave what I thought was a fictional story a whole new dimension. I immediately went onto the net to read about her before continuing. Fantastic. An underlying theme in the book concerned the characters’ responses to the novel theories of ‘evolution’ which were fascinating and thought-provoking. The book was beautifully written.
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