Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, has written a unique and interesting novel in Remarkable Creatures. It concerns Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, two young women of the early 19th century who become paleontologists when the science was still in its infancy. An odd couple, pretentious middle-class Philpot and industrious working-class Anning come to respect and admire each other as they engage in a pursuit that ladies were not encouraged to follow in 1804.

Chevalier tells the story through the eyes of both girls, with each one narrating alternating chapters, and the reader gets to see the events through a set of experiences. The best part of the novel, however, is Chevalier’s extraordinary descriptions of the English coastline. It is certainly recommended for anyone interested in the history of paleontology, and the unusual subject matter makes it worth checking out.

Grade: A-

Remarkable Creatures is currently available.