, July 07, 2015
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A poor woman makes an important scientific discovery in times past but will she be remembered or ridiculed?
From London to the islands of Portugal, this is the story of a woman on the biggest mission of her life
In the 18th century, Dawnay Price is something of an anomaly.
Born a foundling, she taught herself to read by candlelight and her tough start in life only makes her more determined to make her mark on the world.
But this is a traditional and man made world where the world looks down upon the achievements of women, that’s if they are allowed to make any at all, and those they do make are ridiculed or ignored. The world of science is one in particular where men are making headway, discoveries and changing the world…or so they think. When Dawnay comes and challenges this, they are less than happy.
Soon Dawnay heads off to Portugal and some still as yet unexplored islands where she makes some shocking discoveries and challenges the theories held by scientists of the day.
‘They have slackened my rope and given me a taste of the world beyond my fence. And I will have more of it, mark my words’
From the heartbreaking days in the orphanage to the series of events which sees her boarding a ship to Portugal, I was with Dawnay all the way. Her voice, vision and intelligence puts others to shame and you just know she’s getting to Portugal one was or another
What would have happened had this lady and others like her had not made their discoveries? Would Darwin and other male scientists which followed have been able to do what they did? The author calls her the wrong person at the wrong time of history and that in itself is a sobering thought when reading the novel.
The research is outstanding but never gets in the way of plot. I was there with a notebook wanting to discover things as she did, marvelling at the pictures which formed inside my mind. The historical notes at the back of the books simply added to the overall excitement that this was based on real facts.
The clever weaving of real life historical events, such as the Lisbon earthquake really added to the overall atmosphere and time of the novel.
Quite a discovery!