Reading guide for Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier X
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2010, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2010, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. The first sentence of the novel is, “Lightning has struck me all my life.” What did you expect after reading that? What does Mary mean?

  2. What attracts Mary to fossil hunting? How is it different from Elizabeth’s motivation?

  3. How would you characterize the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth—mother/daughter, sisters, or something else?

  4. On page 39 Elizabeth says, “After little more than a year in Lyme I’d come to appreciate the freedom a spinster with no male relatives about could have there.” Why is that? What did “freedom” mean for a woman of the time? Who had more freedom—Elizabeth or Mary?

  5. What role does religion play in Elizabeth’s life? In Mary’s?

  6. How does the notion of “God’s intention” affect their fossil-hunting?

  7. Why do you think that in the novel, the women are fossil hunters, while the men are fossil collectors? What point is Chevalier trying to make?

  8. At different points in the novel, both Mary and Elizabeth have reason to think that they, themselves, might become fossils. What did each woman mean by that?

  9. How does Colonel Birch come between the two women? What are his motives? In the end, do you consider him a decent man?

  10. After Birch’s auction, on page 203, Elizabeth cries, “Not for Mary, but for myself.” Why?

  11. Which woman needs the other more? Why?

  12. Why does Elizabeth go to London? What does she hope to achieve?

  13. Regarding her time on the Unity, Elizabeth says, “I did not expect it, but I had never been so happy.” (page 250) Why does she feel that way?

  14. After Mary agrees to sell a specimen to Cuvier, Mam accuses her of becoming a collector, no longer a hunter. What does she mean by that? Is she right?

  15. Upon Elizabeth’s return from London, Mary says she “was like a fossil that’s been cleaned and set so everyone can see what it is.” (page 298) What happened to change her?

  16. What was your response to the ending?

  17. Have you read any of Tracy Chevalier’s other novels? What similarities and differences do you see? Free Book Club Report

    Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Plume. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Magnificent Esme Wells
    The Magnificent Esme Wells
    by Adrienne Sharp
    Esme Wells was not made to sit back and wait for her destiny. She was made to be magnificent. With ...
  • Book Jacket: Gateway to the Moon
    Gateway to the Moon
    by Mary Morris
    Miguel Torres is a teenager living in Entrada de la Luna, a poverty-stricken dot on the New Mexico ...
  • Book Jacket: New World, Inc.
    New World, Inc.
    by Simon Targett, John Butman
    When we think about the founding of America, we typically envision Pilgrims in black garb and boxy ...
  • Book Jacket: New World, Inc.
    New World, Inc.
    by Simon Targett, John Butman
    When we think about the founding of America, we typically envision Pilgrims in black garb and boxy ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Harbor of Spies by Robin Lloyd

A captivating thriller-at-sea set in Spanish colonial Havana in the 1860s.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Eternal Life
    by Dara Horn

    The award-winning author returns with an ingenious novel about what it would mean to live forever.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Never read a book through merely because you have begun it

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.