This was a wonderful and smooth read. All in undertones and shades of grey. Two strong women trying to survive in the early 19th century. Standing tall when they had very little ground to stand on. Being an old maid doesn't make any difference if you are from the upper classes or the working classes, you have no freedom, no status. This is the story of two amazing women, Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning both venturing where few men even dared. They hunted the fossil-strewn beaches of Lyme for strange relics of phantasmagorical creatures that challenge the core of the beliefs of our own existence. They only got footnotes in the academic papers and were barely acknowledged in their own time. Doesn't matter, Chevalier succeeded in making them come alive and can be forgiven the "cousu de fil blanc" romance she inserted in the narrative. I enjoyed this one a lot.