Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Signature of All Things

After two joyless books, I was in the mood for some lighter reading, so I picked up Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things.

This is a character-driven novel, with a rather plodding plot, if it has a plot at all. Fortunately, the characters are interesting, and the primary character -- Alma Whittaker -- is one I won't soon forget. A stalwart woman of science whose life spans the 19th century, Alma is born into privilege as the daughter of Philadelphia's wealthiest man, a self-made botanical entrepreneur. Money is the least of her privileges; she is blessed with parents who nurture and encourage her considerable intellect and thirst for knowledge.

As Alma reached her middle years, I anticipated the author of Eat Pray Love would rescue her heroine from spinsterhood with a steamy romance. Things did not go quite the way I expected, but I can say no more without spoiling.

This was a satisfying novel and one that makes me eager for the snow to melt so I can poke around in my garden and observe the wonders of the plant kingdom.

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