Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier Book Summary:
Mary Anning, born in a poor family, lived in Lyme Regis and from an early age was fascinated by the fossils, then called snake stones and devil's toenails, that could then be picked up on the beaches. She became far more interested when she realised that these could be sold to the gentry who had grown into avid collectors. She was supported by her family in her enterprise but was often ripped off by the buyers and derided by the scientists. One person came to her rescue: Elizabeth Philpot, daughter of a wealthy family who had settled in Dorset to escape the stultifying respectability of genteel London society. The two women, of different ages and very different class and background, became unlikely friends but the relationship was to take on stranger twists as the excitement of the fossil discoveries - Mary Anning finds the first complete plesiosaur - turns to religious difficulties as the importance of these finds begins to spread.