* Provided by The Reading Room for review *
Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of the No. 1 bestseller Eat, Pray Love, and her newest book The Signature Of All Things is being released next month, in October 2013.
I was lucky enough to receive an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) from The Reading Room along with a lovely letter from the author.
The Signature Of All Things is a big novel and tackles many themes and ideas, contains complex and likeable characters and the covers the progression of botany and science in the time of Charles Darwin. I don't really know that much about botany, and couldn't say I was ever excited by the topic, but when seen through the eyes of Alma Whittaker - the genius main character of the novel - I was enthralled.
Alma is born in 1800, and we learn about her Father's rise to success before learning more about the real star of the novel, his daughter Alma. She is a born genius and with encouragement from her parents chooses a life of science; very rare for a woman in this period.
Much of the novel is spent in America, however the author also takes us to Tahiti and Amsterdam in addition to other locations in this worldly novel. The pursuit of knowledge is a common theme in this fictional novel and the library at the family mansion sounds magical. The reader is also privy to Alma's sexual desires and love life which was fascinating; some of the scenes were surprisingly racy despite the lack of regular sex in her life.
I looked forward to reading The Signature Of All Things every night, and was surprised by the twists, turns and revelations along the way. I would thoroughly recommended this historical fiction novel for the 'thinking' reader and those who enjoy a sweeping adventure story with many life themes along the way.
My rating = *****