Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Remarkable Creatures

In 1810, a sister and brother uncover the fossilized skull of an unknown animal in the cliffs on the south coast of England. With its long snout and prominent teeth, it might be a crocodile – except that it has a huge, bulbous eye.Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of ...

Details Remarkable Creatures

TitleRemarkable Creatures
Release DateAug 24th, 2009
PublisherHarperCollins Publishers Ltd
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, European Literature, British Literature, Literature, 19th Century

Reviews Remarkable Creatures

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    I now know more than I ever expected to about fossil-collecting by English women during the Regency period.This historical novel is somewhat loosely based on several people who actually lived, and either hunted or collected fossils, in England in the early 1800s. It alternates between the viewpoints of Elizabeth Philpot, a genteel spinster in reduced circumstances who moves to Lyme Regis by the sea (a hotbed for fossil-hunters) and discovers a pa...
  • MomToKippy
    Some of my favorite things about Remarkable Creatures:1) Bathing machines!2) Fossils, of course.3) A regency era book about friendship between two women, rather than the marriage of some rehabilitated rake and some nubile.4) Elizabeth's characterization of people based upon what feature they "lead" with - eyes, hair, hands. 5) Fossils!I enjoyed this book a lot more after I came across some information about who Mary Anning really was. At first, I...
  • Richard Derus
    Rating: 3* of five The Publisher Says: A voyage of discoveries, a meeting of two remarkable women, and extraordinary time and place enrich bestselling author Tracy Chevalier's enthralling new novelFrom the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has "the eye"—and finds what no one else can see. When Mary un...
  • Candi
    Remarkable Creatures is a beautifully written book about two remarkable women, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. A fictional account based on real-life characters and events, Remarkable Creatures is set in the early 1800’s in the coastal town of Lyme Regis, England. Poor, uneducated Mary Anning and middle-class, London-bred Elizabeth Philpot form what is considered an unconventional friendship, due to their differing social classes, based on t...
  • Stephanie
    Another winner by Chevalier...I had never heard of Mary Anning and as I read this, it again dawned on me how many women have been erased and disappeared from history because of sexism and male prejudice during the times they lived in...Anning was a major paleontologist who was completely self taught, living in poverty, and discovered several important prehistoric fossils from the Jurassic period that challenged the conventional thinking of the ti...
  • Duane
    This is the story of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, fossil collectors in England in the first half of the 19th century. Their gender and social class kept them from receiving the credit and recognition they deserved for their discoveries. Historical fiction with great characters and a very interesting subject. Tracy Chevalier is one of the best writers today in this genre.
  • Antje
    I know, this book is not great literature but for some reasons I really enjoyed it and will count it to my favourite bokks. The story is about Mary Anning, who lived in Lyme Regis and since she was a girl uncovered fossils of at the time unknown creatures. Elisabeth Philpot, an educated woman from London,was forced to move to Lyme Regis with her sisters, because in the family was not enough money for all the sisters to marry. She started to hunt ...
  • BrokenTune
    "We had heard about the girl struck by lightning, for people still talked of it years later. It was one of those miracles small towns thrive on: children seeming drowned then spurting out water like a whale and reviving; men falling from cliffs and reappearing unscathed; boys run down by coaches and standing up with only a scratched cheek. Such everyday miracles knit communities together, giving them their legends to marvel at. It had never occur...
  • Chrissie
    Finished: I am glad that is over! I think I chuckled maybe once. The prose was stilted. I have never run into such a bunch of miserable souls. A huge disappointment. I absolutely adored this author's book Girl with a Pearl Earring. Through page 183: Ahhhh, I am laughing. The two main woman characters are jealous of each other, and it's quite amusing. Of course a man is invoved. Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot are two real people and the two cen...
  • Sara
    Mary Anning was one of those women in history who was not appreciated in her time and was given little or no credit for her remarkable talents. She was an uneducated person with a unique talent for finding prehistoric bones of extinct creatures in the cliffs around her home in Lyme. Her friend, and someone who did indeed recognize Mary’s skills, was Elizabeth Philpot, a spinster with higher rank in society and a much higher education level. Tog...
  • Ann
    I wish I had read this book, or learned something about Mary Anning, before I went to London. I saw her picture and the fossils she discovered at the Natural History Museum in London without ever realizing what a remarkable accomplishment it was. She was a poor, uneducated, working class girl whose family survived by selling "curies" (curiosities), small fossils found on the beach in Lyme Regis. She finds what she considers crocodiles with fins, ...
  • Lyuda
    Fascinating story that blends actual people and events in a work of fiction. Until this story, I had no idea who Mary Anning or Elizabeth Philpot were and how important their work was in the discovery of prehistoric creatures. Their discoveries at the beginning of the 19th century came at the time when many tried to explain or reconcile geology with their religious beliefs when very idea of extinction was anathema because it suggested that God wa...
  • Annelies
    In the first place, I wanted to read this book because it handled about Mary Anning and her pioneering role in discovering and her knowledge in finding fossiles and some pre-historic fossilised animal skeletons in the nearness of Lyme Regis, England. It gave a good and quite truthful (however romanticised) release about her life, her friendship with Elizabeth Philpot and her findings. It also gave a good picture of the knowledge of geologists abo...
  • Natalie
    "She sells seashells" . . . . People have been trying to wrap their heads and words about the story of Mary Anning for a long time, including Tracy Chevalier here in Remarkable Creatures.Remarkable Creatures doesn't have the same sure hand or intricately drawn world as Girl with a Pearl Earring, but Chevalier's own curiosity in her subject can not be doubted as you can see in this Tracy Chevalier ">BBC slide show narrated by Tracy Chevalier and t...
  • Kathryn
    I've been curious to read a Chevalier novel, but none of the subjects really appealed to me. Enter "Remarkable Creatures"--a book that I was primed to love. England (check!), Dinosaurs (check!), The Ocean (check!), The Conflict Between Science and Religion (check!), Strong Women Doing Awesome Things Despite Their Obnoxiously Patriarchal Society (check!). Too, I'd recently read some picture book biographies of Mary Anning and loved the idea of a y...
  • Abby
    What happens when you discover something that could change your worldview forever? Does the world stop?No, of course not, life goes on, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.Remarkable Creatures focuses on two women who search for fossils - one so she can eat, the other out of curiosity. When they find a fossil that contradicts religion's view of the origins of the earth, the practical appreciates the money and added business fame bri...
  • Lisa
    I am SO surprised that I liked this book. And I am completely FLOORED that I loved it. When Sue said we were going to read a book about a spinster who collects fossils on an English beach in the 19th century for our next book club meeting, I was not thrilled. I kept putting it off because I had already decided that I wasn't going to like it. Well, here I am three days after I finally picked it up, and I have to say that it was a truly great read....
  • PattyMacDotComma
    3★ Updated July 2016It was better written than I'd given it credit for, and I'd like to add this quotation to give a sense of her style.The story opened with such promise and this description of how Mary was affected by being struck by lightning as a baby. “The lightning killed the woman holding me, and two girls standing next to her, but I survived. They say I was a quiet, sickly child before the storm, but after it, I grew up lively and al...
  • Dolors
    "Remarkable creatures" is an unusual story about two English women in the XIXth century who become friends, even though they don't have anything in common. Not the same social background, one being extremely poor, the other mildly accommodated. One being a peasant who can barely write, the other cultured and refined. One being only 11 and the other 25 when they first meet. One being kind of an outcast for having outlived a lightning when just a b...
  • Kate Z
    This book had all the makings of a remarkable book: a female fossil hunter in the early 1800s whose contributions to paleontology have been overlooked; new science challenging long-held religious beliefs... As you delve into the book you realize how ground breaking the events of the novel are. If there were creatures buried in the earth that no longer lived on land that meant that God had made a mistake! Or that Genesis as they knew it didn't mak...
  • Nicole R
    Women scientists are amazing. Historical women scientists are flat out mind-blowing. In 2015, science is still a man's field -- though it is definitely getting better -- and I often find myself flummoxed that I can say something in a meeting that is quickly dismissed but then an older male colleague says the same thing and he is a pioneering genius. But, imagine if this were the early 1800's and not only were I a woman, but I was uneducated and p...
  • Julie
    One of my sister's gave me a newspaper article about this book when it was getting published. She knew that I was interested in anything about Mary Anning and wanted to make sure I would read "Remarkable Creatures".Mary Anning was a fossil hunter in the early 1800's when scientists were just beginning to unlock the mysteries of those strange bones and fragments found on the beaches and cliffs of Lyme Regis. Elizabeth Philpot meets Mary Anning whe...
  • Kate
    Старая дева подружилась с дочкой плотника, и они вместе ищут на берегу моря окаменелости. Кто бы мог подумать, что это окажется так захватывающе.
  • Georgiana 1792
    Creature Notevoli: Tracy Chevalier fa l'occhiolino a Jane Austen?Le due protagoniste, Mary Anning ed Elizabeth Philpot, due persone realmente esistite, la prima appartenente alla classe operaia, la seconda benestante, si dedicano sulla spaggia di Lyme Regis, ai primi dell''800, alla ricerca di fossili, la prima per venderli, la seconda per i suoi studi. Ciascuna delle due espone la storia dal suo punto di vista, alternandosi nei capitoli con il p...
  • Marica
    Austin & DarwinQuesto libro è insolito e piacevole. Inizia come un romanzo di Jane Austin, un po’ claustrofobico fra salotti pianoforti nastri e merletti e tuttavia è interessante, perché racconta in modo abbastanza vivido la vita delle donne inglesi nel 1820 e lo spazio che era loro consentito dalla società. Le sorelle Philpot si trasferiscono da Londra a un paesino sulla costa del Dorset, Lyme Regis. Poiché vivono di rendita, devono trov...
  • Alison
    Disappointing. For a book that starts with a lightning strike, Remarkable Creatures has surprisingly little spark. I could not quite connect with any of the characters. I felt as if I were looking at them through a window, unable to really see them or hear them, instead of being immersed in their story. Also, Tracy Chevalier, whose previous books I've very much enjoyed, tries to pack so much into this book - religious and philosophical questions ...
  • Chatterjak
    Thoroughly enjoyable & very interesting. Great to see over-looked historical figures (in this case a working class woman) having their story told, and so well. Made me want to go find out more about the subject. I thought it conveyed the social mores of the time very effectively too. Fantastic fossil-hunting fiction! It's a difficult balance fictionalising fact, but I thought she accomplished this well, made an entertaining story without taking t...
  • QNPoohBear
    At the dawn of the 19th-century there are few opportunities open to women aside from marriage. The Philpot sisters have failed to find husbands among their middle-class society in London. When their brother decides to marry, the sisters must find a new home. They choose to settle in Lyme Regis by the sea where they can live comfortably and mingle with good society. Middle sister Elizabeth develops a fondness for the blue lias clay and the ammonit...
  • Jackleen
    Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier is a quiet reflective fictionalized story of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, two very different women of different social backgrounds who shared a passion for fossil hunting at the turn of the century. Chevalier gives a voice to these mostly unknown women whose contributions added greatly to the study of extinct animals, paleontology, in a time when men did not recognize a woman’s skill nor expertise, ...