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The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert: Review and Giveaway!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

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.

Goodreads Summary


Alma Whittaker has a passion for botany.  Her family has the means and the integrity to encourage the development of her love for the subject.  The reader will get to grow along with Alma like one of her plants.  The beginning of the novel shows an uncertain but determined Alma who eventually evolves into a curious, out-going person towards the middle of the novel and a serene, confident Alma at the end.  Alma's identity is intricately linked to her love of botany and mosses (bryology).  She forms difficult friendships and experiences lost loves.  Her parents pass away and this deeply affects her.  The adoption of her sister leaves Alma unsure of how to react.  All of these events combine to illustrate the strength and tenacity of Alma's character.

I really enjoyed Alma and the other characters.  The author did a wonderful job of detailing and making the characters feel like they are real.  It was amazing how the author fit a life in the course of a few hundred pages.  It was really hard to put this book down.  I always wanted to know what was going to happen next.  This would be a lovely read for adult readers.

4 Stars

GIVEAWAY:

Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a copy of this book! (USA)




This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

10 comments:

  1. This book sounds wonderful, especially all the characters. Thanks for posting about it!

  1. Adira P said...:

    Ah! I've been trying to get my hands on a copy of this book for so long. I'm a huge fan of Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. I was inspired to travel thanks to this particular book and went on a study abroad trip to Florence, Italy as a Junior in college in part die to Gilbert's work. I'd love to win a copy.

    My email is theyoungthebrokeandthebookish@gmail.com

  1. Adira P said...:

    Ah! I've been trying to get my hands on a copy of this book for so long. I'm a huge fan of Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. I was inspired to travel thanks to this particular book and went on a study abroad trip to Florence, Italy as a Junior in college in part die to Gilbert's work. I'd love to win a copy.

    My email is theyoungthebrokeandthebookish@gmail.com

  1. erin said...:

    this sounds fascinating ;) thanks for sharing!
    efender1(at)gmail

  1. This sounds like a wonderful story. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  1. This sounds like one of those rare, beautiful stories that we always hope to stumble upon, but rarely do.

  1. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance to win!
    luvs2read4fun@gmail.com

  1. bn100 said...:

    Interesting research

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  1. Alisha said...:

    This sounds like it would be a interesting read!
    sienkiel1821 at yahoo dot com

  1. Gaby Il. said...:

    Thanks for this!

    email: grabs64(at)gmail(dot)com