Friday, March 27, 2015

Mr. Darwin's Shooter by Roger McDonald

First sentence:

"The day was hot and dusty with scattered leaves of poplars lining a towpath."


"In this richly detailed novel based on the life of Syms Covington, Charles Darwin's hard-working shipboard assistant and later his house-servant, Roger McDonald shines a light on a man forgotten by history, capturing the breathtaking excitement of the historic voyage of the Beagle and brilliantly illuminating the scientific, religious, and social controversies that exploded around Darwin's watershed theories.

As "Darwin's shooter," Covington collected and preserved invaluable specimens; as the scientist's clerk in London, was he the first man to grasp the full import of their research--the seeds of Darwin's theory of natural selection? Twenty years later, Covington awaits his copy of The Origin of Species with mixed emotions. Embittered by Darwin's failure to acknowledge him, he is also profoundly troubled by his own role in the discoveries that subverted sacred doctrines and shook the Victorian worldview to its very foundation." --
My thoughts:

I liked this account of Syms Covington, an English sailor, who became Darwin's assistant during the voyage of the Beagle. Through his writing, McDonald illustrates well the times and beliefs of mid-18th century England and Australia.

Date read: 3/26/2015
Book #: 5
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Historical Fiction

ISBN-10: 0802143563
ISBN-13: 9780802143563
Publisher: Grove Press
Year: 2008
# of pages: 364
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Monday, March 16, 2015

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

First sentence:

"Nonnatus House was situated in the heart of the London Docklands."


"At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in postwar London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies...from the plucky warmhearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children, to the prostitutes and dockers of the city's seedier side...illuminate a fascinating time in history." -- member description

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this memoir about working as a midwife in the East End of London in the 1950s. Worth's description of the people she met and worked with brought the period to life. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse.

Date read: 3/15/2015
Book # 4
Series: Midwife Trilogy, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir/History

ISBN-10: 0143123254
ISBN-13: 9780143123255
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2012
# of pages: 352
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page