Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Signature of All Things

Last year when I wasn't writing my blog, I was, of course, still reading and I tried to jot down some reviews in my notebook for when I started up again. They are not as fresh as I would like, but I read some great books during that time that I'd like to share, so I will do my best to capture the spirit of each book anyway. Several people have asked for recommendations for a good Easter holiday read and while this one might not seem like an obvious choice, Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things is a truly marvellous book and one that is perfect reading at home or poolside!

She really is an author at the top of her game and once I picked up this book, I could not put it down again. We were in Florence at the time and I still had to drag myself away, even with the wonderful sights…and tastes…of that stunning city! It's one of those rare books: a compellingly epic novel set against a weighty scientific backdrop. Alma Whittaker is the heroine of Gilbert's tale and she's as unique and memorable as they come. Born to a larger-than-life father and stern Dutch mother, both from botanical backgrounds, she is soon launched into the heady intellectual world of scientific debate. She can more than hold her own and so begins her journey through life -- and what a life she leads.

There is nothing predictable about this story and it is peopled with a rich cast of characters in settings that span the globe. We follow Alma throughout her entire life and it is a privilege to do so. I was blown away by this book and was extremely sad to turn the last page. I don't really want to say any more about it except go right away and buy a copy. It's a magnificent novel!

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