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Review of The Fossil Hunter

After serving as an ambulance driver during the war to end all wars, P.J. Martindale arrives home with her fiancé.  But her two brothers did not make it home.  Determined to memorialize her brothers and repair the rift with her father, P.J. heads for the place that her brothers had hunted fossils.  It also happens to be the place Anthea Winstanley discovered fossils that ended up in a London museum.  P.J. finds bones in the very place that the fossils were found. That is just one of several mysteries to be worked out.  What are these bones?  What happened to Anthea Winstanley?  What happened to P.J.’s brothers before they joined the army?  And why is her father so angry with her? 

The Fossil Hunter is dual timeline story.  The 1847 timeline details some of the events Winstanley’s life along with the young girl she took in.  The girl, Mellie, is the most interesting viewpoint due to her troubled past, her young age and her eventual obsession with fossil hunting. 

The 1919 timeline is P.J.’s story.  At 72 years apart, the two sets of events appear to have little in common.  What ties them together is fascination with fossils.  

This is a lovely story about family, secrets and the decisions people make when calamity strikes.  While the ending was, in some part, predictable, I enjoyed the unfolding of the various mysteries.  The Fossil Hunter is for readers of historical fiction who like to help the characters solve a mystery.

Through NetGalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book. My review is my honest opinion. 

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About The Fossil Hunter by Tea Cooper

Buried secrets. An ancient fossil. And one woman’s determination to unravel a nineteenth century mystery.

Australia, 1847. The last thing Mellie Vale remembers before the fever takes her is sprinting through the bush, a monster at her heels–but no one believes her. In a bid to curb Mellie’s overactive imagination, her benefactors send her to visit a family friend, Anthea Winstanley. Anthea is an amateur paleontologist convinced she will one day find proof that great sea dragons swam in the vast inland sea that millions of years ago covered her property. Mellie is instantly swept up in the dream.

1919. When Penelope Jane Martindale arrives home from the battlefields of World War I with the intention of making peace with her father and commemorating the death of her two younger brothers in the trenches, her reception is disappointing. Desperate for a distraction, she finds a connection between a fossil at London’s Natural History Museum and her brothers’ favorite camping spot and the last place they were seen before falsifying their ages to join the army. But the gorge has a sinister reputation: seventy years ago, six women disappeared from there. So when P. J. uncovers some unexpected remains, it seems as if the past is reaching into the present. She’s determined to find answers about what happened all those years ago . . . and perhaps also some closure to the loss of her brothers.

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