The Signature of All Things

by Elizabeth Gilbert | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1408841924 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingjeniwrenwing of Greigs Flat, New South Wales Australia on 11/23/2015
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingjeniwrenwing from Greigs Flat, New South Wales Australia on Monday, November 23, 2015
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.


OMG!!! Here is everything I long for in a novel. This ticks every box with a great story, interesting subject matter, characters you care about and who would have thought the study of mosses could be so riveting. I loved every moment I spent with this book over the last few weeks and it is going to be hard to pick up my next read.

Journal Entry 2 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Arrived safely as a wishlist tag, along with many friends, in a large and very well packed baggie! Thank you so much jeniwren.

I have heard so many good things about this book, and your 10* and top recommendation confirms I should read it sooner rather than later. I dare not place it on one of my overladen shelves in case it gets lost among the others clamouring for attention! ;-)

Journal Entry 3 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Saturday, October 21, 2017
Well . . . even so, it has taken me almost two years to get to it!

I agree jeniwren: a brilliant book.
Didn't realise that she was such a great writer.
I think I'd rather like a moss garden (or cave) of my own.

Journal Entry 4 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Saturday, January 13, 2018

Released 1 yr ago (1/15/2018 UTC) at Balingup, Western Australia Australia

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Recently placed into the OZ VBB and chosen by amberC, so off on a trip northward. Hope you enjoy it.

Journal Entry 5 by wingamberCwing at Darwin, Northern Territory Australia on Thursday, January 18, 2018
Arrived today with LOTS of travelling companions.

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