Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
The Signature of All Things
The Signature of All Things: A Novel | Elizabeth Gilbert
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 CommittedLook out for Elizabeth Gilberts new book,Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, on sale now! 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 Whittakera poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henrys brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her fathers money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Almas 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 directioninto the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artistbut 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 globefrom 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, whoborn in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolutionbears 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, Gilberts wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
blurb
inthegreensandblues
post image

📗 (The) Signature of All Things
🕜 Ability to travel through time
🦀 Cancer
🍷 Might go to a winery? Definitely eating Thanksgiving leftovers and reading. 😄

🌞 #friyayintro @howjessreads

review
perfectsinner
post image
Panpan

This book just wasn't for me. I at least finished this one, which I can't say the same for the author's effort Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert is perhaps just not an author whose works I enjoy. I didn't enjoy this, but since I was able to finish it, I give 2 stars. Into the donation pile it goes.

review
underground_bks
post image
Pickpick

Set in the 1800s, The Signature of All Things follows the life of Alma Whitaker, the naturalist, moss-obsessed daughter of a self-made plant magnate, from before her birth to her old age. The beauty and enjoyment in this book are in the twists and turns of a life fully lived, not plot. Within these pages, you‘ll find curiosity and love, desire and sexuality, god and science, family and sacrifice, all the grandeur and humble detail of life itself.

Samplergal I loved this book. 3w
25 likes3 stack adds2 comments
blurb
perfectsinner
post image

Giving this a go. I checked it out from the library some time ago & never got around to reading it before it was due back. I wasn't a huge fan of Eat, Pray, Love, so here's hoping I like it better. I've been struggling to pick my next read, so I hope I like it

blurb
AdeleReads
post image

Fact: I have yet to regret listening to any book read by the most excellent Juliet Stevenson. Enjoying this botanical adventure so far. 🌸 🌳 🌱 📖

inthegreensandblues I love this book on audio too 💜 1mo
AdeleReads It‘s wonderful! 1mo
28 likes2 comments
review
Samplergal
post image
Pickpick

An amazing, epic novel! I don‘t understand why I‘ve waited all these years to read it. 5⭐️

AmyG I loved this book, too. I wasn‘t a huge fan of Eat, Pray, Love and was surprised how good this was. If you haven‘t read City of Girls...it‘s even better! 2mo
Scochrane26 I‘ve had this on my kindle for several yrs & still haven‘t read it. 2mo
Samplergal @AmyG We read it for my book club last month. Very different and ended up really liking it. I didn‘t read Eat,Pray,Love. Didn‘t appeal to me at all. 2mo
Samplergal @Scochrane26 it‘s quite lovely. It‘s an generational epic tale about a very strong and smart woman. (Yay) 2mo
71 likes2 stack adds4 comments
quote
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
post image


“Nothing is so essential as dignity…Time will reveal who has it and who has it not.”

#Dignity
#QuotsyOct19

AmyG I loved this book. 2mo
IuliaCG Loved this one ❤ 2mo
Sward7 Love the quote. That alone makes me want to read the book. 2mo
85 likes1 stack add3 comments
review
Jemmygem
post image
Pickpick

What a delightful book with intriguing turns throughout the book. I enjoyed this book much more then I thought I would.

Megabooks This one broke my heart! 3mo
Jemmygem @Megabooks I know right to the end I was hoping for her. 3mo
NenaB Loved it! 3mo
53 likes2 stack adds3 comments
quote
Jemmygem
post image

She feared she might die of gladness.

blurb
Jemmygem
post image

Hummingbirds good book and water what more could a girl ask for.

LouiseWalters Yes I enjoyed this book too! 3mo
Ncostell Great picture! 3mo
See All 6 Comments
Bklover Gorgeous photo! 3mo
charl08 Wow! Love this photo. 3mo
Nute Awesome photo! 2mo
53 likes2 stack adds6 comments
review
rachaich
post image
Pickpick

Well I'm exceeding pleased that I gave this another try.
I found the details so intriguing, and in such depth. I appreciated the actual story and found myself wanting to find d out more about botany!

blurb
rachaich
post image

Second attempt at this book and I'm enjoying it much more :)

blurb
stephothebesto
post image

Came across this at my local Friends of the Library store. Only $2 for a hardcover! Loved this book and excited about City of Girls!

5 likes1 stack add
review
NenaB
post image
Pickpick

This long 600 page novel is about heroines, botany, the historical discovery of science, philosophy, love triangles, lust, exploration, adventurous journeys and interesting characters. I love historical fiction and I love botany so I enjoyed all the detailed descriptions. In some parts I felt I was reading a science textbook. Overall I enjoyed it and found the research the author did to put this book together simply incredible. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

AmyG I was so surprised by this book. I loved it. 7mo
NenaB It was amazing! I expected a historical romance type of book and I got a world of knowledge in botany and early science 7mo
12 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
balletbookworm
post image
Pickpick

A meandering novel that charts the life of an extraordinary (fictional) woman spanning the majority of the 19th century and the major developments in science and biology. I liked that it was twisting and slow, with no more plottiness apparent that starting with Alma‘s birth and ending with her death. There was a lot of rumination about faith, conviction, morality, belief, communication, knowledge, self-sacrifice that gave me a lot to think about.

balletbookworm What I found most fascinating was Alma‘s position as the main character - she is not “likeable”, she makes some cringe-worthy assumptions about others because she presumed to know too much (particularly about other people) without directly communicating with that person, but she is so compelling.

I highly recommend the audiobook version - Juliet Stevenson is an extraordinary narrator.
8mo
balletbookworm Also, idk what‘s up with Litsy, sorry for the double post 8mo
17 likes2 stack adds2 comments
review
balletbookworm
post image
Pickpick

A meandering novel that charts the life of an extraordinary (fictional) woman spanning the majority of the 19th century and the major developments in science and biology. I liked that it was twisting and slow, with no more plottiness apparent that starting with Alma‘s birth and ending with her death. There was a lot of rumination about faith, conviction, morality, belief, communication, knowledge, self-sacrifice that gave me a lot to think about.

review
Rissreads
post image
Mehso-so

Well I didn‘t love this book and I didn‘t hate it either. I do appreciate the research that must have gone into it.

Freespirit I loved this book. 10mo
Lcsmcat Kitty! 10mo
MrsMalaprop Snap! Again 😊. 9mo
33 likes3 comments
blurb
Rissreads
post image

I hated ‘Eat pray love‘ so I‘m giving the author another go. This book came highly recommended by some bookclub members. Fingers crossed I love it!

FreeReadAndWrite I also hated eat pray love! Sometimes I feel all alone in that opinion lol 10mo
SamAnne I refused even to pick up Eat Pray Love. But I really enjoyed this novel! It was hard to comprehend the same author had written both. 10mo
MrsMalaprop Hmmm, I too could not even contemplate picking up Eat, Pray, Love @SamAnne and I think it‘s best I keep my opinions on this one to myself 😂. I will say that my view was at odds with most others in my book club though 🤷‍♀️😊. 10mo
UwannaPublishme Glad I‘m not the only one who didn‘t like Eat, Pray, Love. 😊 10mo
26 likes4 comments
blurb
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
post image

Amy! Thank you sooo much for the Valentine surprise!! The card is too cute! 🐶 These books have been on my list for a while!! Which one should I read first?! I‘m trying to decide what books I want to take to the mountains with me!! I‘m definitely taking the hot cocoa!! You are the best my sweet friend! Thank you ❤️🥰📚😘

AmyG 😘😘😘 10mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz I Am I Am! 😁 And Go read it on the mountain! Over the hill and everywhere!! 😁🎤🎶🎶🎵 10mo
Bookishthoughts How nice? I started "the signature of all things" hope you enjoy it 10mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Jee_HookedOnBookz I will!! 💞 🏔 I‘m also thinking 10mo
114 likes1 stack add5 comments
blurb
Fan_of_70
post image

Got out walking on this cold and snowy day so I could send my #justabookswap book out.

TheBookKeepers Brrrrr!! Thanks for the update :) hope u enjoyed shopping for ur match! 11mo
11 likes1 comment
review
Decalino
post image
Pickpick

At its best, this book was a thoughtful and deeply engaging look at one woman's life. It's a long life, and a long book. Alma Whittaker is born into a wealthy family and devotes her life to botany and the study of mosses. She focuses on her own quiet gardens, often to the point of overlooking or misunderstanding the needs and sacrifices of those around her. Ultimately Alma proves to be a hardy and adaptable specimen, able to survive and thrive.

review
BookishShelly
post image
Pickpick

This is an excellent and beautifully written book.

Redwritinghood Yes! I loved it. 11mo
Crazeedi Yes it was a great read! 11mo
47 likes3 stack adds2 comments
review
Penny_LiteraryHoarders
post image
Pickpick

Absolutely marvellous!!! Now what am I supposed to read?!?! 5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 !!!

Megabooks I loved this book too! 11mo
Penny_LiteraryHoarders @Megabooks so good!! 💗💗 11mo
44 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
Penny_LiteraryHoarders
Signature of All Things | Elizabeth Gilbert
post image

Ok. This is the book I'm going with. My Literary Hoarder partner and my bookish bestie have said SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS. Elizabeth says if I don't love it she owes me a new book. It's on now!!

AmyG I absolutely loved this. I was pmeasantly surprised because all I had read if her was Eat Pray Love. (edited) 11mo
Penny_LiteraryHoarders @AmyG great! Thanks Amy! 11mo
Redwritinghood I thought it was great! 11mo
See All 6 Comments
BookishTrish This book was so interesting. I could t put it down. 11mo
Penny_LiteraryHoarders @BookishTrish sounds like this will be a good one. Fingers crossed! 11mo
41 likes2 stack adds6 comments
review
LouiseWalters
Pickpick

Beautiful book, made me think Elizabeth Gilbert can really write well.

3 likes1 stack add
blurb
sherri
post image

When I grabbed a book and a deck to end my evening with, I didn't realize the beauty of my choices. 🌱🌿🌼

blurb
sherri
post image

I saw beautiful moss during a hike in the woods today. It made me think perhaps this is the time time begin reading The Signature of All Things, which I hear discusses moss in detail. As luck would have it, I just bought that book a few weeks ago.

GypsyKat I love moss. When I was a kid I used to spend hours in the woods exploring, and I‘d always stop to pet the moss. 😂❤️ 13mo
sherri @GypsyKat I definitely did some petting! 13mo
GypsyKat @Sherri Nice! 13mo
8 likes1 stack add3 comments
review
Allthebookclubs
post image
Mehso-so

I really enjoyed #eatpraylove, so I was excited when I came across The Signature of All Things. The storytelling was a bit different and I now know more about moss than I ever dreamed of. There was a bit of “personal” info about Alma I could‘ve done without, but I picked this up in an airport and it satisfied my day.

blurb
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
post image

I have looked at this beautiful tree and watched it change over the seasons for 20 years!! It‘s at the hospital where I work ☺️

Anyone read the tagged book? I hear it‘s really good! 🍁🍂🧡

I hope everyone is having a fabulous Wednesday!

#Nature
#FallintoReading

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @wen4blu awesome!! Thank you ☺️ 13mo
lynneamch Yep! So good that I'd like to reread it some day. 13mo
See All 12 Comments
kspenmoll Such vibrant color! 13mo
vkois88 So pretty!! I wish I had a view like that at work... 13mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @vkois88 I love this time of year! 13mo
Hollie That is lovely! I have a big beautiful tree at my work, too. This time of year it is especially beautiful. 13mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Hollie it is!! 🧡🧡 13mo
Eggs 💗💜💙❤️ weird but true: I miss you and I haven't even met you in person yet 13mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Eggs I miss you too ❤️💗❤️💗 13mo
93 likes12 comments
review
Redwritinghood
post image
Pickpick

I was pleasantly surprised by the lush prose and complex story of Alma. Alma grows up in a botanical household and becomes fascinated with moss, an unattractive, low-key, under appreciated member of the plant kingdom. Much like Alma herself, however, the unassuming mosses hold vast levels of complexity and a rich history underneath. One part of the story seemed to veer off-course a bit, but this was a great book overall and great narration. 4⭐️

AmyG I was surprised, too, bu how much I enjoyed it. 14mo
Redwritinghood @AmyG Everyone seems to say that. Her non-fiction books make her seem so flightly, but this is so well done. 14mo
9999 I loved this book! 14mo
56 likes2 stack adds3 comments
blurb
Tashreads
post image

Day 8| #NewHogwartsAdventure #herbology

I was not a fan of Eat, Pray, Love - so entered into this with much trepidation. My foray into the unknown was rewarded however, it was gorgeous, sumptuous and rich *satisfied sigh* who knew the study of plants could be so enticing.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I have this on my shelf.... ❤️❤️ 1y
Suet624 Agreed. A great story. 1y
vkois88 I honestly wasn't impressed with either of her two books that I read. It's good to know that she has a more enjoyable one out 1y
61 likes3 stack adds3 comments
review
Autumnscribe
post image
Pickpick

Surprisingly, I loved this book despite every expectation not to (not an Eat, Pray, Love fan). I only agreed to give it the faintest chance at the impassioned behest of a friend. And I am glad I did. This book Is So different from (E,P,L) it is hard to believe they are written by the same woman. It is much more reserved, dense, and science oriented. 🤷🏻‍♀️ not sure how else to put it. Long, and richly detailed I was hooked from the first page.

Dragon Sounds interesting, stacking! 😀🐉 1y
Autumnscribe @Dragon you‘ll know by page four or five if you like it, or not. Hope you do. 1y
jamie_in_the_library Have you read the tagged book? Signature of all things was recommended to me after I read and LOVED Euphoria 1y
Autumnscribe @jamie_in_the_library I haven‘t, but after reading the description, I will. Thanks for the recommendation. 1y
10 likes2 stack adds4 comments
review
KimM
post image
Pickpick

Weirdly charming. I liked this one for the science and the questions it posed. I think it could have been edited better. There were sections that were incredibly repetitive. But outside of that it was a solid read. 4⭐️s

AmyG Agreed. I liked this book, too. 1y
25 likes1 comment
blurb
Linsy
post image

This book made me want to set off into the nearest forest to hunt mosses. #signature #coolbooks

rachaich I've started this twice but not got into it :( 1y
Linsy @rachaich It is pretty slow, so I get it. It switches perspectives a bit of the way through, and that was hard for me. I had to restart as well. 1y
rachaich I've read other boojs by her and loved them. 1y
Linsy @rachaich I‘ve loved all of her non-fiction, but have never tried her earlier fiction. Have you? 1y
rachaich Mostly her non fiction :) 1y
119 likes7 stack adds5 comments
review
tome.fries
post image
Pickpick

I finished The Signature of All Things last night and enjoyed it until the end.
📚
It reminded me a lot of Jane Austen with the style of writing, but with a very different kind of love story. I give it ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Full review coming soon to www.tomefries.com

RaimeyGallant Pretty cover. 1y
9 likes1 comment
blurb
monalyisha
post image

1. Peonies. They‘re just so voluptuous.

2. Sugar snap peas! Something about them makes it so easy to taste the sunshine. ☀️

3. We have a communal garden for our small home (3 apts; 5 ppl): tomatoes, kale, lettuce, herbs, peas, asparagus, sweet potatoes. There are also a bunch of plants inside my apartment (mostly spider plants), which my husband takes care of because I have a black thumb. 👎🏻🖤

4. The Signature of All Things! 🌿

#gardenparty

REPollock We have white and pink peonies in the community garden here! They remind me of my aunt who was named Peony, but I didn‘t know her personally so it‘s anticlimactic I guess. 1y
REPollock Also I loved this book you recommended. Thanks for reminding me of it! 1y
monalyisha @REPollock What a cute name! I‘ve heard “Poppy” but never “Peony.” 🤗🌸 1y
See All 9 Comments
REPollock Isn‘t it a great name? Of course, she was technically my great aunt and because of my grandfather‘s accent I spent maybe the first ten years of my life thinking he was talking about his sister Peeny. Which...um, nope, not a good name. 😊 1y
monalyisha @REPollock I‘ve never read any of Elizabeth Gilbert‘s nonfiction, which is funny since it‘s mostly what she‘s known for - but I loved the tagged book so much. 1y
REPollock I have never read anything else by her either! TBH I don‘t care about somebody‘s memoir of finding themself if they‘re rich enough to bail on their whole life and backpack across India or whatever she did for the Eat Pray Love thing. Like, high fives but can‘t relate. 😄 1y
monalyisha @REPollock Ha! I watched the movie with my mom & kinda felt like that was enough. I‘ve heard “Big Magic” is good, though, from creative folks I admire. 🤷‍♀️ 1y
Stacy_31 I love the idea of a communal garden! 1y
Clare-Dragonfly Peonies and snap peas 👍🏻 1y
45 likes1 stack add9 comments
blurb
tome.fries
post image

What's better than baking and reading? 📖 Made banana chocolate chip muffins and am half way through The Signature of All Things. 📚🍪 Do you have a favorite thing to bake? I love making chocolate chip cookies but I had a bunch of bananas to use.

review
Ruthiella
post image
Pickpick

#ReadingResolutions This is the first thing that came to mind for the prompt #bookandnature . I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I only knew about Eat, Pray, Love which I‘d not read but I categorized Gilbert as a self-help author. The nature connection: the protagonist is a self-educated botanist studying moss.🌿

Crazeedi I really liked this book, but it was just so sad in a way 2y
Ruthiella @Crazeedi Agreed! Alma did come to a sort of happy resolution but it was certainly tinged with sadness about what could have been.😕 2y
BkClubCare Oh yea!! I still think of Alma when I see moss. 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱 2y
Ruthiella @BkClubCare Yes, this book has stayed with me as well 😀 2y
33 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
inthegreensandblues
post image
Pickpick

I loved this book and I love its unusual and memorable heroine, Alma. This is a character rather than plot-driven story; and it is long and descriptive; but I never felt like it moved too slowly. It's a beautiful portait of an interesting, if quiet, life. I listened to this partially on audio and also enjoyed Juliet Stevenson's narration, especially her voicing of Henry Whitaker.

review
Deborah42
post image
Pickpick

A family saga, a lot about the history of botany, and a plot that‘s oddly compelling, even when nothing much is happening.

Alma Whittaker is intellectually gifted, but not blessed in the looks department. She spends her life trying to win the love and approval of her parents and competing with her beautiful adopted sister. Just when she resigns herself to a lonely life, she meets a man who draws her into his world of magic and spirituality.

blurb
kspenmoll
post image
Linsy Great book! Love that copy. 💚 2y
62 likes1 stack add1 comment
blurb
Fortifiedbybooks
post image

Walked to the library to return a few books and ended up checking out 3 more, only one of which I had planned to get. #libraryhaul

quote
inthegreensandblues

There is only so long that a person can keep her enthusiasms locked away within her heart before she longs to share it with a fellow soul, and Alma had many decades of thoughts much overdue for sharing.

blurb
DivineDiana
post image

Attended the Philadelphia Flower Show and this was my favorite display! A botanical library inspired by Alma, the main character in Elizabeth Gilbert‘s, “ The Signature of All Things”.

Bookcation74 Oh my goodness!! I LOVE it! 2y
kspenmoll Gorgeous shelves & plants! 2y
hermyknee Beautiful! 2y
See All 12 Comments
SilversReviews Gorgeous...thanks for sharing. 2y
Suet624 That‘s so great! 2y
Lindy 😍😍😍 2y
Velvetfur Beautiful! Is that the same Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote 'Eat Pray Love' and 'Committed'? 2y
Velvetfur (cos i might be remembering her name wrong..!) 2y
DivineDiana @Velvetfur Yes! It is the same author. This book is entirely different. Well researched historical fiction. 2y
Velvetfur @DivineDiana Sounds good! Because I really enjoyed 'Committed', much more than 'Eat Pray Love' 😊 2y
CarolynM 😍😍😍 Gorgeous!! Wish I could keep indoor plants alive 2y
138 likes1 stack add12 comments
review
lucylovestoread
post image
Pickpick

A snow day pre-kids used to mean plenty of time for reading. Not with two kids underfoot but I did get to finish this. I loved this book. I felt like I really knew Alma and every detail of her life was open to me. Beautifully written, descriptive and thorough. Slowly paced so not for everyone but I found it so refreshing and honest.

Amabear A happy read? Or no? 2y
lucylovestoread @Amabear Yes, overall I would say so! 2y
Centique I loved this book so much but I didn‘t love the ending. Still one of my faves even so! 2y
lucylovestoread @Centique I quite enjoyed how slow it was and loved the addition of an evolution plotline and a big Dutch family for Alma. But I can see how it might not be for everyone 2y
24 likes5 comments
quote
lucylovestoread
post image

"On the whole of things, Alma. I still see more wonder in the world than suffering."

27 likes1 stack add
blurb
lucylovestoread
post image

Loving the naked cover of this book as discovered by my toddler. Also featured my Nutella heavy #breakfastwithabook - I was meant to be going out for breakfast but left my keys in the changing bag that my husband has taken out with the kids - doh!

24 likes2 stack adds
blurb
lucylovestoread
post image

1. Hopefully some alone time for me with a book! My husband has been away for work all week so I'm ready to be free of my kids for an hour or so.
2. 5ft3
3. We moved into the country around 2 years ago and I just love it!
4. The signature of all things. I'm enjoying it but it's a big heavy hardback so need to find an ebook to read on the go or while feeding the baby.

#friyayintro @jesshowbooks

review
Krisjericho
post image
Pickpick

I had no idea what to expect with this. I didn‘t even know that Gilbert wrote fiction until I read this. It is long and epic and lyrical, and Alma is a very intriguing character. There are a couple of beautiful passages that I will save forever. That being said, it was too long. It tries to do too much. There‘s childhood, science, sex, spirituality, Tahiti, Holland, abolitionists, moss, orchids and and and. It was lovely. But it needed editing.

RebelReader This is my favorite Elizabeth Gilbert! I loved Alma.❤️❤️ She was a woman before her time. 2y
Simona Some parts of the story are too long or even unnecessary, but I think that characterization of Alma is one of the best in ‘recent‘ literature. 2y
42 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
lucylovestoread
post image

A book and a glittery blue bath 💙💙💙
(Not pictured chocolate and raspberry strings)

Enjoying the setup chapters of this so far. Weirdly my second reference in 2018 to Captain Cook and the Tahitian he brought back to England with him, Omai. This journey also came up in How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.