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Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Naturalist's Daughter by Tea Cooper

Title: The Naturalist’s Daughter
Author: Tea Cooper
Publisher: 18th December 2017 by Harlequin (Australia), TEEN / MIRA
Pages: 356 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, Australia
My Rating: 5 crowns

Two women, a century apart, are drawn into a mystery surrounding the biggest scientific controversy of the nineteenth century, the classification of the platypus.
1808 Agnes Banks, NSW
Rose Winton wants nothing more than to work with her father, eminent naturalist Charles Winton, on his groundbreaking study of the platypus. Not only does she love him with all her heart, but the discoveries they have made could turn the scientific world on its head. When Charles is unable to make the long sea journey to present his findings to the prestigious Royal Society in England, Rose must venture forth in his stead. What she discovers there will change the lives of future generations.
1908 Sydney, NSW
Tamsin Alleyn has been given a mission: travel to the Hunter Valley and retrieve an old sketchbook of debatable value, gifted to the Mitchell Library by a recluse. But when she gets there, she finds there is more to the book than meets the eye, and more than one interested party. Shaw Everdene, a young antiquarian bookseller and lawyer, seems to have his own agenda when it comes to the book but Tamsin decides to work with him to try and discover the book’s true provenance. The deeper they delve, the more intricate the mystery becomes.
As the lives of two women a century apart converge, discoveries rise up from the past and reach into the future, with irrevocable consequences…
My Thoughts

Having been impressed with Tea’s, ‘Currency Lass’, (review HERE) I was happy to see her new tale, ‘The Naturalist’s Daughter’, tackling strong female historical figures once again. This truly is such a heartfelt story and I thoroughly enjoyed both dual time narratives that were so very cleverly linked.

Set one hundred years apart, both Rose in 1808 and Tasmin in 1908 have much to offer the reader with their courage and tenacity. Rose’s story is heart wrenching as she travels to England to represent her father and not only face humiliation but also conflicting familial connections (the secondary story is in itself is quite fascinating - Tea gives us a little gothic mystery on the English moors - I mean truly - this tale has it all!) Tasmin in 1908 and her pursuit of discovering the truth, is both admirable for a woman of that age and the intrigue and mystery will grip you to the very end.

Then there is the historical story behind the platypus - I learnt so much, it was fascinating to read about this unusual Australian mammal. The way Tea interweaved fact and captivating fiction with both the historical debate over its existence right down to its extraordinary habits and characteristics is highly commendable. Rich in both intriguing historical and scientific facts, you will cheer for both the discoveries and lament the setbacks.

This is really a clever story that will have you piecing together all the puzzle pieces that have been masterfully crafted by Tea. I was captivated by not only the strength and determination of the two women, but the cast of secondary characters that range from their respective beau’s, to the parentage and familial relationships - both being deep and meaningfully conveyed.

Congratulations Tea on once again producing such a spellbinding and masterfully crafted tale of mystery and intrigue that will see the reader  journeying side by side with Rose and Tasmin to firstly uncover and then piece together the puzzle that is, ‘The Naturalist’s Daughter’.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

1 comment:

Angela said...

I really like the cover of that book. I'm kind of shallow when it comes to buying books. A really great book cover makes me want to buy a book, even before I know what it's about!