Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Pages: 369
Date: 17/02/2010
Grade: 4+
Details: Large Print edition

This book by Chevalier, like the earlier ones, is based on real people and real events.
Set in the first half of the 19th century, it is the story of two women, Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning.
When Elizabeth moves from London to Lyme Regis with two of her sisters she is already resigned to living out her life as a spinster and develops an interest in fossil hunting. While on the beach searching for fossils she meets Mary Anning, a young girl from a very poor family with a remarkable eye for hidden fossils.
Elizabeth and Mary start spending time together, searching for treasures with especially Mary being very successful at finding the remains of creatures unknown to men.
Such is Mary's success that men of science start looking for her help in finding fossils and buying those she has found of her.
Of course, this being the age it is, Mary doesn't get credited publicly with her finds and it seems that her name and Elizabeth's will be lost to history.
Their difference in standing keeps a distance between the two women and a falling out keeps them apart for years. In the end though their devotion to fossils, science and the truth will bring them back together. And, as this book proves, their efforts and lives were momentous enough to be remembered.
This book deals with a lot of issues such as the role of women in society, the church doctrine versus science as well as loyalty and friendship.
Still, this book failed to impress me like some of Chevalier's earlier books did. I never felt close enough to the women to be really interested in their story. And although it wasn't a hard book to read or stick with, I was never impatient to get back to it either. All in all this was an interesting but not an amazing book.

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