I am a long time fan of Ms. Chevalier because she can literally transport the reader to whatever era she is writing about. She does it again with this book, taking us to a cold and lonely stretch of beach in search of “curies”. Mary Anning is our heroine and we follow her as she grows up in a time when poverty was rampant, society was sexist, and women were supposed to know their place. Striking up an unlikely friendship with older spinster Elizabeth Philpot does not help Mary’s place in life or society but gives her the courage and stamina to face whatever life throws in her way. At the same time Mary takes some of the stuffing out of Elizabeth’s biting tongue and prim ways. Although the themes of the book; religious doctrine, poverty, inequality of both gender and class and are not new, Ms. Chevalier does weave an interesting and entertaining story around them. I remain a fan.