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  • Published: New York : Viking, 2013.
  • Year Published: 2013
  • Description: 501 p.
  • Language: English
  • Format: Book

ISBN/Standard Number

  • 9780670024858
  • 0670024856

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The signature of all things

by Gilbert, Elizabeth, 1969-

There are currently 2 available

Where To Find It

Call number: Fiction

Available Copies: Downtown 1st Floor, Malletts Adult

Additional Details

" A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, from the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed. 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. "

"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. he 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"

Community Reviews

Very well written

I wasn't sure I would like this because I wasn't crazy about Gilbert's earlier books but I became engrossed right away and thought about this book long after I was finished. An interesting and unique plot and singular characters move the story along.

Wonderful, stick-with-you kind of book

I began this book tentatively because I have not been a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert in the past. I was immediately swept away by the scenes she describes and the amazingly developed characters that make this story so phenomenal. The Signature of All Things is an adventure book for adults, taking place on several continents (and oceans!) and spanning almost one hundred years. The story essentially follows the life, travels, loves and losses of botanist Alma Whittaker, a brilliant scientist and researcher. She devotes her life to studying the mysteries of evolution while battling against the entanglements of the spiritual world introduced to her by the love of her life, Ambrose Pike. Her study and her curiosity take her all around the world pursuing her research and her love. This book was really unlike anything else I have ever read. The unique-ness of the plot, the unusual and memorable characters, and the amazing settings were all unforgettable. I highly recommend it!

Beautifully written

A good book.

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