Set in the 19th century, The Signature of All Things follows the fortunes of the brilliant Alma Whittaker as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s first novel in twelve years is an extraordinary story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century.
The novel follows the fortunes of the brilliant Alma Whittaker (daughter of a bold and charismatic botanical explorer) as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science. As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she loves draws her in the opposite direction ‒ into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose is a Utopian artist. But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing ‒ a desperate need to understand the workings of this world, and the mechanism behind of all life.
The Signature of All Things is a big novel, about a big century. Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, this story novel soars across the globe ‒ from London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam and beyond. It is written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time. Alma Whittaker is a witness to history, as well as maker of history herself. She stands on the cusp of the modern, with one foot still in the Enlightened Age, and she is certain to be loved by readers across the world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
After the release of her breakthrough memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert returned to fiction with this sprawling novel set against the scientific and cultural tumult of the 19th century. Alma Whittaker, the brilliant and sexually frustrated daughter of a millionaire explorer, becomes an internationally renowned botanist, traveling the globe in search of scientific knowledge. British actress Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply) tackles Gilbert’s exquisitely researched historical novel with soft-spoken grace, allowing the characters to flourish as organically as the plants Alma’s so passionate about. Who knew mosses and orchids could be this enticing?