Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
This is the story of an unusual friendship that developed between poor, uneducated Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster in early 1800’s England, pre-Darwin. They shared a common passion, fossil hunting and through trials and tribulations maintained a friendship for several decades. Mary Anning’s discoveries of fossilized skeletons of the ichthyosaurus and plesiosaurus rocked the scientific and religious worlds. Remarkable Creatures is not an action packed book, but rather a study of the class system and an interesting portrayal of two women who strive to receive recognition for one’s incredible scientific findings in an academic community dominated by men. Although I found the descriptions of time and place fascinating and the dinosaur discoveries remarkable, for me the most endearing aspect of this novel was the unlikely but lasting friendship forged between Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot.