Curiosity - Joan Thomas I cannot continue. What I have discovered is that both Remarkable Creatures and Curiosity accurately depict the time period and its religious turmoil. The depiction is spot-on, but to me suffocating. I cannot deal with the "oh-so-proper" dialogue of the upper-class people. Whether Mary becomes hopelessly infatuated with Colonel Birch or Henry De la Beche is not interesting to me. I am at fault, not the book. I should not have picked up this book in the hope that it would give me enjoyment. I should have realized that such a topic as this was doomed to failure for me, me being whom I am. Joan Thomas was very kind to send this book to me. She was kind; I was an idiot! Those who appreciate Victorian literature - give it a try! You will probably love it!I know, I know, the time period of the book is a bit before the Victorian era, but it fits anyhow. It is better than Remarkable Creatures. I will send this book on to another person in the hope that she DOES enjoy it. I wish I could hide my head in a paper bag......

Through page 148: Oh, sometimes this is so boring..... I hate reading about high-society life. Polite luncheon talk. False standards, hypocrisy and pretensions, it drives me up a tree. OK, this WAS how life was in Bristol, but it is not my cup of tea! Please, when is Henry moving to Lyme Regis....anything to leave this setting!

Through page 120: I clearly enjoy this book more than [b:Remarkable Creatures|6457081|Remarkable Creatures|Tracy Chevalier|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZKCbA0NEL._SL75_.jpg|6647405]. There is humor. There is irony. There are beautiful descriptive passages of the Dorset landscape. Often the humor is tongue in cheek. On page 107 one reads:

He's speaking jovially, man to man. "How could I have foreseen such a thing? No one could have! However, with respect to yourself and your recent history, I can assure you I was the soul of discretion. The very soul." He tugs at his night cap, which seems to have shrunk in the laundry.

It is the last sentence I find amusing. This proper, aristocratic being is just like all the of us - troubled by laundry and ill-fitting clothes.

Or this comment from Henry:

"They shuffle along the ground, a modest, nervous bird. I watched them as a boy. The male and female are identical. I found a nest close to here, with eggs. Blue, like a robin's. Except for one larger egg, which was grey. They are often host to cuckoos, inadvertent hosts. Rather like my uncle Alger's situation at the moment."

Henry is currently living with his uncle Alger!

I love the line:

"She wears her nothing can touch me face."
We all know how that looks!

The huge science vesus religion controversy of the time is central to both books. The stratification of society and the repression of women is another common denominator. In Curiosity the chapters alternate between Henry and Mary, while in Remarkable Creatures they alternate between Mary and Elizabeth Philpot, but in Thomas' book there is humor and happiness too. Henry's teenage fixation on women is amusing. Mary's vibrant curiosity and relentless struggle to make sense of both the accepted "religious truths" and science is invigorating. The atmosphere in Curiosity is lighter, although the same dilemas are focused upon. I simply did not like the chemistry between Mary and Elizabeth.

I received this book directly from the author. I wish to thank her very much for sending me the book! I was interested in comparing this book with [b:Remarkable Creatures|6457081|Remarkable Creatures|Tracy Chevalier|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZKCbA0NEL._SL75_.jpg|6647405]. Although both books cover the same subject how will they differ? I found Chevalier's portrayl bleak and dismal.

I must say I love the cover to the hardcover edition sent to me. It is the 1830 watercolor painting done by Hnry De la Beche entitled Dunia Antiquior. It shows the prehistoric creatures of the fossilized skeletons which Mary discovered. Henry had the artist George Scharf make lithographic prints of his original painting. They were sold to aid Mary Anning financially.