Remarkable Creatures

Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier
3.7 186

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Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

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 At the Edge of the Orchard and Girl With a Pearl Earring.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101152454
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/05/2010
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 57,732
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

"I was born and grew up in Washington, DC. After getting a BA in English from Oberlin College (Ohio), I moved to London, England in 1984. I intended to stay 6 months; I’m still here.

"As a kid I’d often said I wanted to be a writer because I loved books and wanted to be associated with them. I wrote the odd story in high school, but it was only in my twenties that I started writing ‘real’ stories, at night and on weekends. Sometimes I wrote a story in a couple evenings; other times it took me a whole year to complete one.

"Once I took a night class in creative writing, and a story I’d written for it was published in a London-based magazine called Fiction. I was thrilled, even though the magazine folded 4 months later.

I worked as a reference book editor for several years until 1993 when I left my job and did a year-long MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich (England). My tutors were the English novelists Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain. For the first time in my life I was expected to write every day, and I found I liked it. I also finally had an idea I considered ‘big’ enough to fill a novel. I began The Virgin Blue during that year, and continued it once the course was over, juggling writing with freelance editing.

"An agent is essential to getting published. I found my agent Jonny Geller through dumb luck and good timing. A friend from the MA course had just signed on with him and I sent my manuscript of The Virgin Blue mentioning my friend’s name. Jonny was just starting as an agent and needed me as much as I needed him. Since then he’s become a highly respected agent in the UK and I’ve gone along for the ride."


London, England

Date of Birth:

October 19, 1962

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.


B.A. in English, Oberlin College, 1984; M.A. in creative writing, University of East Anglia, 1994

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Remarkable Creatures 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 184 reviews.
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
Mary Anning has been a unique girl ever since she survived being struck by lightning as a baby. She has a special knack for finding rare fossils of unknown creatures on the beaches near her home. Elizabeth Philpot is a young spinster when she meets Mary, instantly taking an interest in fossils herself. From this moment, we watch the friendship grow between these two different women as they navigate family, love, society, and the male dominated world of Fossils. Chevalier has a uncommon ability to make people from a very specific time and place come alive once more. I had to pause a few times to remind myself that these characters lived long ago, as they felt so real and tangible to me. She has a writing style full of prose so beautiful and soft, it will make the vision at the edges of your sight blur until the only thing in focus is the page in front of you. Unusual side effect: reading this book made me want to go scour the beaches for my own fossil finds!
AvidReaderREE More than 1 year ago
My mother and I have read all of Tracy Chevalier's books and the last few we have been rather disappointed, but this one makes up for it! It's quite gripping and compelling, on par with Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn. Absolutely wonderful! Such a good book to just sit down and read the whole thing!
alaskanvalkyrie More than 1 year ago
Tracy Chevalier does an outstanding job of showing you raw, realistic history while compelling you to turn the page. An unlikely friendship in an age where women do not have equality, this is a superb example of the rise of great women. I love every book of Ms. Chevalier's because they are all different in genre and are never repititious. Can't wait for the next book!
GabrielRE More than 1 year ago
Tracy Chevalier once again managed a little miracle by bringing back to life Mary Anning and Ms. Elizabeth Philpot who have long been dust themselves back on the beaches of Lyme's coastal cliffs. She once again made people from a very specific time and place come alive once more. I felt I was right there, walking along the beach of Lyme Regis with them in search of fossils, ammonites and crocs! Her writing style of prose so beautiful and soft, just flows gently and slowly sips in you until all you can think of, even when you put the book down, is fossil hunting on the beaches of Lyme. Remarkable Creatures is indeed about these two remarkable ladies, who little did they know at the time, contributed with their simple lives, their curiosity, perseverance, endurance and inner strength to how the scientific world begun "considering" the idea of extinction, regardless of how shocking this idea was in the early 19th century...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a shame to see such a beautifully written novel fall short to entertain. There was no plot, no height to the story, and no entertainment factor. It was extremely boring. I did finish it, however, by the time I reached the end I wish I wouldn't have. I was upset that I devoted so much time to read it. There were several times the story would reach the point of wondering what's going to happen next and than nothing did. For instance, when bones of a woman were discovered on the the shore, there was no great mystery behind it. It is basically a story about the relationship of two woman who have fossil hunting in common. It is one long boring story about their lives intertwined. It was well written, but that is all I can say good about it.
BeenToBaliToo More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Chevalier fan, and this book is her best yet. She has such a talent for picking topics that would seem mundane, yet she makes them fascinating and intricate with feminist themes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why is the ebook more $$ than the paper copy?
Northwest_Judy More than 1 year ago
If you are a Jane Austen fan, this book would make a great companion piece. Where those books are lovely in their wit and tidy endings, Chevalier shines in portraying a different type of woman living in that same time, whose stories do not always go the way we wish for them. I was thrown off by the lightning element at the start of the book, thinking that this story would veer off into magical realism (it didn't). This isn't the type of book that will keep you up at night for 'just one more chapter' but if you are a fan of historical fiction you'll be happy with the details on location, time, gender, and class.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Born in 1799 in Lyme Regis, England, her father gave his daughter quite an education to search for the "curies" of life that can be found by the beach so they can sell their catch to wealthy tourists. This was Mary Anning's training at paleontology fossil hunting. She became one of the best and hr research led to her belief that the age of the earth was much older than that of the Old Testament as proof of an age with gigantic creatures before humanity (and Darwin) existed. Elizabeth Philpot and her family come to coastal England for their brother's marriage. She meets Mary and enjoys the fossil hunter's tales. They become friends and partners searching for the bones of pre mankind. When Mary discovers fully intact dinosaur remains, Elizabeth speaks for both of them in front of the science community that detests females in their business and several try to rip off the find as theirs. However their BFF is tested when Colonel Thomas Birch arrives in Lyme Regis to ask Mary to help him on his fossil hunt. Based on real people who made incredible contributions to paleontology before Darwin, Remarkable Creatures is an entertaining historical fiction that showcases the strength of conviction a woman had to have to do anything outside the accepted limited roles. We come more than just a long way, try light years, from the Regency-Victorian eras. Fans will enjoy Tracy Chevalier's spotlight on two women who made a difference as their work is still on display in Oxford. Harriet Klausner
bibliolover More than 1 year ago
Tracy Chevalier is one of my favorite authors and she completely lives up to expectations with this novel. I had no knowledge of this story before reading it and I was hooked from the first page. Strong female characters who actually existed and left a legacy behind. Fabulous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chevalier develops her characters thoroughly, reflecting the class distinctions of the times with two women's enduring friendship and devotion despite such barriers.
karen978 More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Chevalier's characters are ALWAYS interesting and alive. I couldn't put it down.
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I suppose the book was written the only way possible. It turns out to be suitable for young readers as well as their elders. Personally, I would have enjoyed a side story delving into the philosophical struggles of early paleontology reconciling biblical history with natural history.
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