Signature of All Things, TheGilbert, Elizabeth
In the 1800s, a period not known for its investment in women, what sets Alma Whittaker apart from other young women her age is the exceptional education she receives. With a father who has made his fortune from his knowledge of plants, Alma's prospects favour the botanical more than the marital, but it is through her pursuit of knowledge, (particularly through the study of mosses) that will give her the opportunity to aspire to achieve both.
In a story that circles the globe and is rich with larger-than-life characters, Alma is a woman of the Age of Enlightenment, grappling with a changing world but courageous enough as a contemporary of Darwin to postulate her own theory of evolution. An interesting and engaging story from a bygone era with a heroine fit for the challenge. [Big read}
Comments from GroupsGreatly enjoyed. Readers were swept along through this story which was enthralling, disturbing, well researched and, quite simply, a book to recommend. A few of our group had not managed to read it, but they are now going to remedy that! Wellington 041 A very interesting read - something for everyone. The botany and history were very nicely woven into the fiction. The member who likes fiction least of all the various genres, was happy with it too. We all learned a lot about moss. Auckland 020 Most book club members found the book to be ponderous, however we found some of the facts very interesting. Auckland 339 There were divided opinions regarding this book. We enjoyed the writing style, but some members felt the story "sagged" in the middle! All appreciated the research done on the botany subjects. The underlying "sensual" element was appreciated by some members, not others! Amberley 001 This one was a surprise. We were expecting "chick-lit", instead we got a well-researched, well-written and entertaining book. Although most definitely not a quick read, it has enough twists and turns to keep you interested until the end. Christchurch 299 Most of the group read most of this long winded, and sometimes overly fanciful book. The writing was good in patches, but the characters were too one-dimensional. Christchurch 239 This book was a good choice for our group. We all agreed the writing is beautiful. Gilbert evokes physical descriptions and powerful emotions equally well. The story is exceedingly complex in some ways, such that each time we felt the discussion drawing to a close, someone would begin again with another aspect not yet explored. The characters were SO unique and strongly drawn. We appreciated Gilbert making the book very authentic with the inclusion of actual historical figures of the time (Joseph Banks, Charles Darwin, Wallace etc). We spent about 2 hours on our discussion. Hokitika 001