Remarkable Creatures

Remarkable Creatures

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:

A voyage of discoveries, a meeting of two remarkable women, and extraordinary time and place enrich bestselling author Tracy Chevalier's enthralling new novel

From 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 uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with unusual interests she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter, cold storms and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man.

Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile from London, who also loves scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.

Remarkable Creatures is a stunning novel of how one woman's gift transcends class and social prejudice to lead to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century. Above all, is it a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship.

Watch a Video
Publisher: New York : Dutton, c2010.
ISBN: 9780525951452
Characteristics: 312 p. ;,24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 06, 2020

A great book. Some history, some romance, some science, two strong, committed women & well written. Don't worry about keeping the names of the fossils straight, just enjoy the story.

Jun 15, 2020

For mom

multcolib_susannel May 27, 2020

When Mary Anning uncovers an unknown fossil in the cliffs the English coast, she finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot- in the struggle to be recognized in the scientific world, they discover that friendship is their greatest ally

Feb 28, 2020

19th female botanist. Midwest, but goes to New Guinea

Aug 22, 2019

This is a very interesting historical fiction about an unusual topic, prehistorical fossil discovery by two English women in the 1800's. It is interesting in the fact that people just then were beginning to wonder about the beginning of the planet along theories that were not biblical- and how upset people were about that thought. You also have the usual discounting of women's thoughts and ideas and keeping them chained to home and hearth and not being able to inherit property or study in universities or attend social event, walk on the sidewalks or listen to a lecture by themselves or risk ruining their reputation. It is also about friendship and sisters relationships and family duties. I loved it although it took a little while to get into and the various collectors names were a bit hard to keep track of and the dialect took a little getting used to. The epilogue title "The reader's patience" made up for the slight difficulties.

Aug 07, 2019

Borrowed Aug 2019 but returned it unread. just couldn't get into it so save for a later time.

May 17, 2019


Dec 08, 2018

Loved this fictionalized account of an early 19th century friendship which did influence/change our history of geology! I liked how the debate about the validity of fossils and fossilized creatures was not only framed by period social issues (Jane Austen style) but also in terms of how people handled their religious faith in the face of evidence which challenged Bishop Usher's dating of the age of planet earth, which some folks still, oddly, believe. My disclaimer: I believe science can make spiritual belief stronger. I love geology, science, and Jane Austen and this book rocks!

Nov 21, 2018

I love a book that teaches me about a world unknown to me. I found myself Googling the creatures found by Mary and Elizabeth, as well as wanting to know more about their lives. I soon found out that "Remarkable Creatures" was about more than just fossils, as Mary and Elizabeth were magnificently unique and remarkable creatures, as rare as the fossils they unearthed.

Jul 25, 2018

The book Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier is a great book about the first discoveries of these creatures in the cliffs of a small town. The remarkable creature Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot discover is in fact one of the first dinosaur fossil to be found and it is interesting to see the reactions of people who have never heard of dinosaurs and the explanations they come up with. I like how the science and fossils is blended with the lives and struggles of the characters to create a book as remarkable as the creatures it is about. I thought that the different men sometimes got confusing and I'd have to go back a paragraph and check what the name was. (Four stars)
- @Redibis of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

View All Comments


Add a Summary
Feb 27, 2011

Historical novel, based on life of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. Mary is a skilled fossil hunter and her finds keep her family from the poor house. Elizabeth is of a higher class, but poor too, in 1820's England. They become close friends, during Mary's childhood and after she is grown. Elizabeth helps widowed mother and Mary and brother when she can, with sales of fossils, etc. Assorted men take the credit for many of Mary's discoveries.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top