The Signature of All Things: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things: A Novel

byElizabeth Gilbert

Kobo ebook | October 1, 2013

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A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, from the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed. Look out for Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. 

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.
Title:The Signature of All Things: A NovelFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:October 1, 2013Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1101638001

ISBN - 13:9781101638002

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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Would not recommend I had very mixed feelings about this novel. At first I was really enjoying it; I loved reading about Henry Whitaker and his adventures. Then you start to learn about Alma and her life growing up. Almost 200 pages in and Alma Whitaker is already in her 50s, so you start to wonder where this story could possibly go! It is at this point that I try to grapple to stay interested in the story. When Alma meets Ambrose is when my interest starts to wane. Then when she has her adventure, I feel like perhaps I can wake up a little and find something interesting here. Alas, that did not happen. Once in the Netherlands, I wonder what the whole point in this story really is. Finally, the last 50 pages were so difficult to finish that I put the book down 6 times in 3 days, because I could only read a couple pages at a time. I was quite frustrated with the dry dialogue, my eyes glazed so much that before I knew it I had "read" 3 pages without being entirely certain what I had read. Finally I just skimmed over the last few pages and closed this book for good. Truthfully, I am tempted to rip off that last half of the book and pretend that it was a short sweet story up until she turns 50. After that, there's really no point in continuing.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read Very interesting novel. The characters are so interesting and different from any I've read before. The story is about a family and all the minutia that creates an entire life. The middle gets a bit drawn out but overall I found myself really enjoying this book. I didn't know what to expect but I was not disappointed.
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read I had eat 'Eat. Pray. Love.' and loved that book so I decided to grab this one as it was only $5! It talks a lot about family, love, and friendship. I did like the bits incorporating a bit of science. There were parts that dragged on and did not need to be included, but overall it was a great read.
Date published: 2017-05-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different, But Amazing I had come off of a "Committed" and "Eat Pray Love" high, so I was super excited when this book came out. Wayyy different than the previous two, but I loved it all the same. With a historical setting, this book focuses on a woman who does not fit in the preconceived mold for her time. Independent and educated, she leads the reader on a journey unlike any other. I loved it, and appreciated the cool illustrations in the book. A definite reread!
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not recommend This book was a painful read.....way too much scientific details that I did not "need" to know. i thought this was a fictional book not non fiction.
Date published: 2017-04-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great read While this book has left a lasting impression on me, it was kind of a drag to read. I did enjoy the science elements of this book - the main thing that attracted to me - but the writing sometimes lingered. Still a great read about love, life, and nature.
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a big surprise! I wasn't expecting this! This a great book that left a lasting impressions on me. It is about herbs and plants, and women... loved it so much! really great!
Date published: 2016-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from EXCELLENT REALLLLLLLY loved this book.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from epic adventure I loved this book. It is one of the best books that I've read this year, or perhaps any year. It was an amazing epic adventure in a way, but also a story about life and love and how we deal with the ups and downs that can come our way in life. Enthralling, breath-taking, thought-provoking writing style. Interesting characters that are real and relateable. Evocative descriptions make the settings come along. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic, Funny, Deliriously good! The most wildly entertaining historical epic I have read in the last ten years. Love!!
Date published: 2014-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read, Love One of my favourite books EVER....a fantastically winding, delicious story starring a great character. This is a good book club pick, there's lots to discuss on the power and meaning of "love", and the place of women in society -- our heroine gets to be a career girl for two big reasons: she's plain, and she's rich and so is absolved of the 'need' to marry. Discuss.
Date published: 2014-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Signature of All Things Great story of a courageous woman. Entrancing and stimulating!
Date published: 2014-10-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Signature of All Things This is a good read, and a long one. It follows a family through two generations. I would say it drags in last third of book and then ends well. I recommend it to plant lovers everywhere and actually to all lovers.
Date published: 2014-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Signature of all Things Profound...compelling... Beautifully written.
Date published: 2014-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mom Enjoyable, relaxing read. Refreshing, just something different.
Date published: 2014-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different Great story of an extraordinary woman
Date published: 2014-05-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Different Great storyline, but perhaps a bit too long. I found myself lost in pages of descriptive writing. I think I was expecting more.
Date published: 2014-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Different I am wondering if Elizabeth Gilbert is a better fiction writer than a non-fiction writer after reading this book. Profound, delightful and feminist - an unbelievable combination.
Date published: 2014-02-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Different I could hardly put this book down for about the first half. It seemed like a lot of things were happening all at once and It was really exciting. But the second half for me fell a little bit short, though it was still a comfortable and pleasing read overall.
Date published: 2014-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Different Great book, first one of hers that I have read, but will be looking for more by her now
Date published: 2014-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Different It's been a while since I've fallen into a book as quickly and happily as I have with Elizabeth Gilbert's latest novel. I am absolutely enthralled by the writing. I love the characters and I am loathe to finish the book because I don't want to say goodbye to them. The story has evoked gasps, laughter, and already a few tears, as well as a few moments of, "I never knew that!" Truly a fantastic book.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different This is a wonderful account of the life of a woman scientist at a time when such a concept was inconceivable. The rest of her life is just as nonconformist, not surprisingly. I found this a good read.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Different This novel allows the reader to become part of a world where one woman shows she can be a strong, resilient survivor in the face of everything a difficult family life and upbringing can throw at her. The wonderful and vivid descriptions of the amazing world of orchids and mosses carries the reader through the many years that span this incredible life journey. Could not put it down.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different An excellent read. Moves along briskly and was hard to put down. I enjoyed this book more than Eat, Pray, Love. Highly recommendable.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Different The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert it's an historical fiction novel that enthrals a story of adventure, love and discovery. It sets, for the most part, in the eighteenth century and narrates the life of an extraordinary family. Henry Whittaker, a poor Englishman who became a botanical explorer and made a great fortune in the science field of medicinal plant development. Henry's wife, Beatrix Whittaker, is an expert botanist with a strong disposition. The central character, Alma Whittaker is a brilliant minded person who becomes a botanist as well. As Alma carefully studies moss and the mysteries of evolution within the mosses itself, many other naturalist such as Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace are desperate to understand the workings and mechanisms behind all life in different ramifications. Elizabeth Gilbert portraits an extraordinary era in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. This novel has an engaging plot that will take you across the globe from London to South America to Amsterdam to Philadelphia to French Polynesia and beyond. It will keep you captivated in the Enlighten era of the 1800's. Gilbert's exquisitely deep, sagacious and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Different I was disappointed in the book. There were portions written about her private times, that did not add anything to the book or storyline.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Different Interesting but rambles a bit. Good for long read on a quiet evening if you've nothing else to do. Not for those seeking excitement or an easy read. Its quite intense with the author expressing views on all sorts of topics. Personally I found it a little laborious and ended up skim reading large sections.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different A new direction for Elizabeth Gilbert best known for Eat, Pray, Love however a wonderful read. The book moved at a steady pace and kept you wanting to read on. This book won't disappoint you. There is nothing predictable and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you wanting more.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Different An easy ready with many levels and interesting characters. The story is always twisting and turning leading you to new adventures and new ideas.
Date published: 2014-01-23