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At the beginning of a new century, Alma Whittaker is born into a perfect Philadelphia winter. Her father, Henry Whittaker, is a bold and charismatic botanical explorer whose vast fortune belies his lowly beginnings as a vagrant in Sir Joseph Bankss Kew Gardens and as a deck hand on Captain Cooks HMSResolution. Almas mother, a strict woman from an esteemed Dutch family, has a knowledge of botany equal to any man s. It is not long before Alma, an independent girl with a thirst for knowledge, comes into her own within the world of plants and science. But as her careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love draws her in the opposite direction into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical. She is aclear-minded scientist; he is a Utopian artist. But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing a desperate desire to understand the workings of this world andthe mechanisms behind all of life. The Signature of All Thingsis a big novel, about a big century. It soars across the globefrom London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam. Peopled with extraordinary characters missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, seacaptains, geniuses and the quite mad above all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker, a woman of the Enlightened Age who stands defiantly on the cusp of the modern. About the author Elizabeth Gilbert is the acclaimed author of five books of fiction and non-fiction. She is most well known for her 2006 bestsellerEat, Pray, Love, which has sold over ten million copies worldwide and was made into a film starring Julia Roberts. Her short story collectionPilgrimswas nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award, her novelStern Menwas aNew York TimesNotable Book andThe Last American Manwas a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent work, Committed,was a Number OneNew York Timesbestseller. Elizabeth Gilbert lives in New Jersey. Printed Pages: 512.