The book tells the story of Rachel, a young woman from Philadelphia, who, in 1867, becomes familiar with a couple of Naturalists. In the early days of science, and just a few years after the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, this family goes on a trek to the Amazon to collect specimens, study nature and document new species. Rachel will witness the jungle like never before, encountering new and interesting creatures, getting lost in dense green patches, and discovering bit by bit the story of the people that have brought her here, and their connection to indigenous lands and peoples. The descriptions of the natural world are magical, and the collision with new flora and fauna is inspiring at a time when most knowledge on plants and animals had yet to be written. I enjoyed the flow of the novel and the entanglement of characters: there’s more to it than trees and monkeys, and you’ll have to pick it up for yourself!
The Naturalist by Alissa York