My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sum it up in a sentence (or two): This is the story of a life - Alma Whittaker's life. And oh, what a life it is.
First thoughts: I wasn't chomping at the bit to read this book at first, but once I started, I was absorbed in Alma's world. I kept marveling at the attention to detail and all the fun little bits I learned about botany, sea travel, and history. Then I got completely lost in the story, wondering how I could doubt Elizabeth Gilbert. I am amazed at her talent. Even when the story seemed to "settle" a bit, something always happened to shake it up. I had to remind myself that even though The Signature of All Things is set in the 1800s, it was written in 2014 - no stale, rambling tale here.
Favorite characters: Alma, Rhetta, Hanneke, Prudence...there were a lot of strong women in this book.
"This was simply not enough hours. This left far too many remaining hours free, and free hours were dangerous. Free hours created too much opportunity for examining the disappointments she was meant to be grinding under her boot heel." p 159
"There is only so long that a person can keep her enthusiasm locked away with in her heart before she longs to share it with a fellow soul." p 201-202
"I do have a dreadful love for understanding." Alma, p 239
"Well, we all fall prey to nonsense at times, child, and sometimes we are fool enough even to love it." Hanneke, p 290
"People could be many things, apparently, and all at once." p 305
"She would awaken, catch her breath, and immediately begin writing again." p 446
Final thoughts: Oh my goodness! What a perfect book. I couldn't have asked for more - the characters, the details, the story, the pace...this was a fantastic read. It was rich, compelling, amazing. I would actually read this book again. If I was in college I would hope I could write a paper on it. Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert!
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