The Naturalist’s Daughter by Tea Cooper

1. Published 2017 Harper Collins 2. First lines. 3. Platypus (Ornithorynque) (1802-04)
watercolour, pencil by Charles-Alexandre LESUEUR French 1778-1846 Muséum d’Histoire naturelle, Le Havre (inv. 80033) Photo: Alain Havard via National Gallery of Victoria 4. Background: Wolli Creek By Allen Contributed By City of Botany Bay Library and Museum Services [DP0001.018] (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) via Dictionary of Sydney
It’s all here – family secrets, feisty female characters, a contested inheritance, AND … a neatly tied up ending.

3stars I liked this book.

Plot summary: From Agnes Banks in Australia, to Cornwall and London, this story moves alternately from 1808 to 1908, telling the story of Rose and Tamsin. Rose is the daughter of a naturalist investigating the classification of the platypus in the early 19th century. Tamsin works in the State Library in Sydney one hundred years later. The story weaves back and forth across the centuries, untangling a web of family connections.

Reviews: “Cooper skillfully weaves historical fact through the two stories, creating a sense of atmosphere and suspense. Both stories are engaging, and the transitions back and forth work well. She has created two determined and feisty young women of their respective times and interwoven a compelling storyline about scientific discovery and colonial secrets” Full review: Historical Novel Society

“Cooper’s novel does feature strong female characters in a man’s world, and the author obviously has a passion for Australian history, but the novel is too full of loose writing and breathless cliche to fulfil its promise.” Full review: Sydney Morning Herald

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