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The Signature of All Things

Gilbert, Elizabeth (Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Signature of All Things
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"Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker--a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction--into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist--but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. The story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who--born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution--bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas"-- " A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, from the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed. In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker-a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction-into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist-but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe-from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who-born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution-bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert's wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers. "--
Authors: Gilbert, Elizabeth, 1969-
Title: The signature of all things
Publisher: New York, New York :, Viking,, [2013]
Characteristics: 501 pages :,illustrations ;,24 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Notes: "A novel" --Jacket
Summary: "Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker--a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction--into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist--but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. The story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who--born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution--bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas"--
" A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, from the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed. In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker-a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction-into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist-but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe-from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who-born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution-bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert's wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers. "--
ISBN: 0670024856
9780670024858
Statement of Responsibility: Elizabeth Gilbert
Subject Headings: FICTION / Historical FICTION / Literary Industrial revolution Fiction Enlightenment Fiction Painters Fiction Women botanists Fiction
Genre/Form: Historical fiction
Topical Term: FICTION Historical
FICTION Literary
Industrial revolution
Enlightenment
Painters
Women botanists
LCCN: 2013017045
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Oct 18, 2014
  • delmacdc rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great read. Found the writing articulate and elegant. Even though the main character struggled with her place and position she was taught to value work and intellect above other material and personal attributes. Loved the Dutch mothers instructions to her daughters. Made me realize that many of us were raised with the Victorian influence to be ladies who either control or ignore things. No wonder the sixties happened!

Sep 03, 2014
  • ADMIN_MANDM rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A well-written and engrossing saga from the author of Eat Pray Love. I found it immensely enjoyable.

patron review

Fiction from the author of "Eat, Pray, Love". Love the development of the characters and all the detail to the botany!

Jul 23, 2014
  • joalo rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A truly remarkable yarn covering a wide range of topics and fields with larger than life characters, improbable settings and written in a very readable style.

May 12, 2014
  • CynScribbler rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Beautifully written historical novel with visual settings and engaging characters. Perhaps a few too many descriptions of moss, making the novel a tad longer than necessary, but on the whole, well worth a recommendation.

May 04, 2014
  • Tish1NYC rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I'm obviously in the minority here but I found this book almost unreadable. Too many plot contrivances and so much fuss.

Mar 29, 2014
  • lpodell rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Loved! Great character, string interesting woman, nice Darwin connection

Feb 27, 2014
  • ehbooklover rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This one’s tough. At times I couldn’t put the book down. At times I wondered why I was reading it. That really shouldn’t be a surprise as I had a very similar experience with Gilbert’s memoir “Eat, Pray, Love”. Perhaps a bit more editing would have helped. That said, in the end I did enjoy this exploration of one woman’s experiences during a time of great debate between science and spirituality.

Jan 22, 2014
  • GummiGirl rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Entertaining, if not always believable. For anyone interested in novels about 19th century women in science, I would recommend Tracy Chevalier's "Remarkable Creatures" more than this book.

Jan 10, 2014
  • mrsgail5756 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

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app03 Version Arkelstorp Last updated 2014/10/22 16:24