The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert’s wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers





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  • Susan B.

    I am at the point where Alma is getting married. I enjoyed the part about God leaving his signature on nature through plants. Very interesting.

    1 · February 5, 2014

  • FK

    I havent finished reading the book. Is the meetup still on?

    1 · January 30, 2014

    • FK

      Hey Liz, I would like it rescheduled. I am actually quite enjoying the book. Let me know if there is interest in rescheduling

      February 1, 2014

    • Liz B

      I rescheduled it for this coming up Thursday, the 6th, hope you can make it.

      February 1, 2014

  • Brita L.

    Can't wait!

    January 30, 2014

  • Liz B

    Hi everyone. I am having car troubles and my car is currently in the shop. I am hoping they are able to fix whatever is wrong today before the Meetup. If they are not able to I will have to either cancel the Meetup or you guys can meet without me if you would like. I'll post if I am canceling before 4pm but wanted to let you know of the possibility early.

    January 30, 2014

  • Susan B.

    I am having a bit of trouble myself, but have continued to read it. I also have the next book about Einstein. I think I am enjoying that more.

    January 29, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just joined so it is too late. My regrets but maybe the next time!

    January 28, 2014

  • Liz B

    Seems like a lot of us are having trouble reading/finishing this one. I am still plucking away at it myself.

    January 28, 2014

  • Megan J.

    Sorry, try as I might I cannot warm up to this book and will not finish. Maybe next time!

    January 28, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Traveling so won't be able to make it this time.

    January 25, 2014

  • Salona N.

    Had to change my RSVP to no :( Have to travel for work, looking forward to the next meeting!

    January 22, 2014

  • Brita L.

    Can't wait!

    January 17, 2014

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