cover image The Naturalist’s Daughter

The Naturalist’s Daughter

Tea Cooper. Harper Muse, $18.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-400-34471-0

Two women fight to reveal the truth about a scientific discovery in this crackling novel from Cooper (The Talented Mrs. Greenway). In 1808 New South Wales, Rose Winton loves accompanying her naturalist father, Charles, to observe platypuses. Nine years later, Charles plans to present proof that the platypus is an egg-laying mammal to the Royal Society in London. After Charles is attacked by a venomous male platypus, laying him up for months, he entrusts 18-year-old Rose to take his sketchbook containing their observations to England and present them to famed naturalist Sir Joseph Banks. In a parallel story line set in 1908, New South Wales librarian Tamsin Alleyn learns of Winton’s sketchbook, which an elderly woman donated to the library just before she died. After Tamsin examines the book, she works with aspiring book dealer Shaw Everdene to uncover why Charles never received credit for his findings about the platypus’s reproductive system. Cooper shifts seamlessly from Tasmin and Shaw’s sleuthing to Rose’s ill-fated trip to England, where she uncovers family secrets and learns her life is at risk. The author keeps readers guessing as she connects the two plot strands, each of which abounds with exciting scenes, including a chase on a windswept moor that evokes The Hound of the Baskervilles. This is one not to miss. (Aug.)