Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Tracy Chevalier is a writer of historical fiction. She has a fine ability of bringing to life various periods of history, joining real people and events to what she imagines are the untold elements of a story. Her most famous book is probably Girl With a Pearl Earring which tells the story of the Dutch artist Vermeer and his famous masterwork. That book was made into a film starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth.


Remarkable Creatures is not nearly as romantic as that story, but it is compelling in its own right. It is the story of two women, Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning who were fossil hunters and at the forefront of some very exciting discoveries in the early nineteenth century.


Elizabeth and her two sisters moved from London to the town of Lyme Regis on England’s southwest coast when their financial situation took a negative turn. They lived in reduced circumstances but comfortably there. Even though their income was modest, they were considered a part of society in the small community.


Mary Anning had lived in Lyme Regis all her life. She was still a young girl when the Philpots moved there and she first met Elizabeth. Mary had been struck by lightning as a baby, and she always believed that experience had marked her for greatness.


Mary and Elizabeth were not people who ordinarily woul