Here are my finds this week!
by Tracy Chevalier
In the year of the 150th anniversary of Origin of Species, set in a town where Jane Austen was a frequent visitor, Tracy Chevalier once again shows her uncanny sense for the topical. In the early nineteenth century, a windswept beach along the English coast brims with fossils for those with the eye!
From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear Mary Anning is marked for greatness. When she uncovers unknown dinosaur fossils in the cliffs near her home, she sets the scientific world alight, challenging ideas about the world's creation and stimulating debate over our origins. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is soon reduced to a serving role, facing prejudice from the academic community, vicious gossip from neighbours, and the heartbreak of forbidden love. Even nature is a threat, throwing bitter cold, storms, and landslips at her.
Luckily Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly, intelligent Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster who is also fossil-obsessed. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty and barely suppressed envy. Despite their differences in age and background, Mary and Elizabeth discover that, in struggling for recognition, friendship is their strongest weapon.
Remarkable Creatures is Tracy Chevalier's stunning new novel of how one woman's gift transcends class and gender to lead to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century. Above all, it is a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship.
by Bridget Asher
When Lucy discovered that her charming, cheating husband was dying, she came home, opened up his little black book, and decided she wasn't going through this alone. After all, Artie's sweethearts were there for the good times - is it fair that Lucy should have to manage the hard times herself? In this wise, wickedly funny new novel, Lucy dials up the women in Artie's black book and invites them for one last visit. The last thing she expects is that any will actually show up.
But one by one, they do show up: The one who hates him. The one who owes her life to him. The one he turned into a lesbian, and the one he taught to dance. And among them is a visitor with the strangest story of all: the young man who may or may not be Artie's long-lost son.
For Lucy, the jaw-dropping procession of women is an education in the man she can't forgive and couldn't leave. And as the women find themselves sharing secrets and sharing tears, they start to discover kindred spirits - and even something that's a lot like family. But Lucy knows one thing for certain: the biggest surprises are yet to come..
Full of heart, Bridget Asher's unforgettable novel is about mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and the deep friendships between women. It's about sweet liars and tenderhearted cheaters - about loving those we love for reasons we can't always fully rationalize, and about the sort of forgiveness that can change someone's entire life in the most unexpected and extraordinary ways.