Book Club: The Naturalist’s Daughter

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Author: Tea Cooper
ISBN: 9781489242426
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Harlequin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

I am still off having a great family holiday, I have snuck a little computer time while the family are all sleeping. My reading is going pretty slow, and today I ended up not reading while we drove because I was looking out the window at the scenery. So slow reading means I need to do some more short posts for reviews to be left and review properly later.


Tea Cooper is an established Australian author who writes captivating historical fiction. The Naturalist’s Daughter is her latest novel and it encompasses a dual timeline set in both 1808 and 1908 in NSW. It is the tale of two women, separated by a century. There seems to be quite an interesting mystery that I can’t wait to unravel.

The synopsis according to Harlequin:

1808 Agnes Banks, NSW

Rose Winton wants nothing more than to work with her father, eminent naturalist Charles Winton, on his groundbreaking study of the platypus. Not only does she love him with all her heart, but the discoveries they have made could turn the scientific world on its head. When Charles is unable to make the long sea journey to present his findings to the prestigious Royal Society in England, Rosie must venture forth in his stead. What she discovers there will change the lives of future generations.
 
1908 Sydney, NSW

Tamsin Alleyn has been given a mission: travel to the Hunter Valley and retrieve an old sketchbook of debatable value, gifted to the Public Library by a recluse. But when she gets there, she finds there is more to the book than meets the eye, and more than one interested party. Shaw Everdene, a young antiquarian bookseller and lawyer seems to have his own agenda when it comes to the book – and Tamsin. In an attempt to discover the book’s true provenance Tamsin decides to work with him.

The deeper they delve, the more intricate the mystery becomes. As the lives of two women a century apart converge, discoveries rise up from the past and reach into the future, with irrevocable consequences…

 Now I am even more excited to read the story and I can’t wait until it makes it to the top of the list.

Tea Cooper can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

The Naturalist’s Daughter is published by Harlequin and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading The Naturalist’s Daughter  so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

22 thoughts on “Book Club: The Naturalist’s Daughter

  1. LOVED IT, absolutely loved it!!!! I have always loved historical fiction, especially Australian historical fiction and my first choice January book didn’t let me down! Thank you so much for the opportunity to read “The Naturalist’s Daughter,” Beauty and Lace. I was unaware of Tea Cooper before reading this but having enjoyed this as much as I have I will look for her other books.

    It is almost impossible to say anything about the story apart from the excellent synopsis from the back of the book without giving away clues that should definitely not be forthcoming. The way the stories unfold, intermingle and evolve is wonderful. I felt that nothing was forced. The way the study of the platypus was woven into the story was masterful. The time lines were handled beautifully with the reader never losing track of the developments.

    I loved the way the strength of both Rose and Tamsin was portrayed with both lovely young women being way beyond their time, both living well before it became “acceptable” to have a mind of your own if you were born female. They were both so independent but caring. There is no doubt that this book will be one of my favourites for some time to come.

    Thank you to Harlequin for this excellent book – thank you, Tea Cooper – this will not be the last book of yours I read. For anyone who loves Australian historical fiction I recommend this book highly. I loved it.

  2. What a fascinating novel Harlequin Publishers have made available, by talented author Tea Cooper. Thank you to you and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review ‘The Naturalist’s Daughter’.

    Oh what a captivating tale. I was a little sceptical about whether I’d enjoy this story. Wondered if a story about the evolution of the platypus would enthral me. Well wasn’t I wrong. It was an intricate tale of two eras in history, 100 years apart; told in alternating chapters.

    Early 1800 in NSW, Australia, Rose Winton literally and figuratively follows in her father’s footsteps investigating the beguiling life of the platypus. Here her complicated, fascinating story unravels, immersing the reader in mystery, adventure, love and romance.

    100 years on in Sydney we are introduced to an independent young Tamsin Alleyn, working for the Mitchell Library who has a fascination with compiling accurate events of history through investigating tales and truths from old books and the like. So her story begins with investigating the authenticity of an old journal, suspected to belong to the early Australian Naturalist, Charles Winton.

    The author provides characters of such substance, revealing tales and mysteries of the past and present to beautifully interweave these two characters with fascinating results.

    I loved it. It will keep you wondering, entertain and impress you.

  3. I have just finished reading The Naturalist’s Daughter by Tea Cooper. I could not put it down.

    I am a fan of historical fiction and this story is set in Australia and covers two women, Rose Winton whose father was a naturalist studying platypus in the early 1800’s. Tamsin Alleyn is the second woman, her story is set in early 1900’s. The two stories evolve through the book, and become more intertwined. Plenty of mystery, education of life in early times, a bit of romance.

    This was an extremely well written and enjoyable book by Tea Cooper and I will be looking for more of her books to read, Thank you to Beauty and Lace, and Harlequin books for the opportunity to read and review it.

  4. Tea Cooper! You have done it again! MY second book read of yours did not let me down! I was so excited to receive my copy of The Naturalists Daughter and couldn’t wait to start, then read it within 2 days! I could not put it down.

    So very detailed, descriptive and researched it has everything an Australian history novel could ask for. With a touch of mystery, some romance without being over the top in both time sequences, murder, and a back ground story to keep you guessing.(altho I did guess but not until near the end)

    I eagerly look forward to your next novel!

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read The Naturalists Daughter

  5. Thankyou Beauty and lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read The Naturalist’s Daughter by Tea Cooper.
    Firstly I loved the cover, it would entice me to pick up this book. I also loved the story!
    It is set in two time frames, with two story lines.

    1808 Charles Winton is a naturalist researching the Australian platypus. HIs daughter Rose spends time with him and helps with his research. Her father is invited to England to present his findings at the Royal Society in England, but is unwell and Rose travels to England to take his place. In this story line we gain a great insight into very early Australia and England of early 1800s.

    1908 Tamsin Alleyn works for the Mitchell Library and she is entrusted to travel to the Hunter Valley to collect a sketch book which has been donated to the Library. It is possible that it is Charles Winton’s work and would need to be authenticated. If it is genuine it would be very important to the history of Australia and quite valuable. However when she arrives unfortunately the donor has passed away and here begins the fight for the book. The library believe they have the right to it, Mrs Rushworth believes she has inherited it and Shaw Everdene ( a young antiquarian bookseller and Lawyer) is interested in it. Once again we get a wonderful historical feel for early 1900s Australia.

    Both Rose and Tamsin are inspirational women.
    The book has romance, mystery and a wonderful insight into the unusual platypus .
    Absolutely recommend this book! It is the first book by Tea Cooper I have read and I will certainly be reading her others!

  6. A fascinating story that is so hard to put down!

    The Naturalist’s Daughter is a wonderful Australian historical fictional novel set in 2 different time periods in NSW, 1808 and 1908. The two main female characters, Rose Winton and Tamsin Alleyn are remarkably strong and inspirational women you can’t help but admire.

    Rose Winton follows in her father’s footsteps, learning all about the platypus and circumstances lead her to showcase her and her father’s findings to the other side of the world. Her determination to succeed amidst challenges and the love she has for her father is wonderfully displayed through her character, whilst her story is encompassed in mystery, adventure and a little romance.

    Tamsin Alleyn works for the Mitchell Library and her love of old books compel her to authenticate an old journal detailing the life of the platypus which is believed to have belonged to Charles Winton, an Australian Naturalist.

    The two stories are woven together beautifully. With very descriptive writing, the reader is easily taken back into both women’s worlds.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this amazing book. Thank you also for introducing me to the author, Tea Cooper. I loved this book and am interested in reading more novels from this amazingly talented author.

  7. What a good read. Take yourself on a trip back in time to the early 1800 and early 1900s as the story of Rose Winton and Tamsin Alleyn bend together. Rose studied the platypus with her father since she was young. He taught her the latin, about the physiological and behavioural species of this animal. Charles Winton was researching these animals for the Royal Science Society back in England. Sadly his work was never to be recognised, not for lack of trying.
    Tamsin worked for a local library in NSW and was sent to retrieve a sketch book thought to be the works of the Naturalist Charles Winton. Unfortunately the owner had recently died and her daughter was not keen to comply with the bequest of her mother to donate the book, it was worth too much money.
    Follow the challenge in the 1900s between what is right for Australian history and greed. Join Rose in her journey in the 1800s to honour the only father she has known, only to find that the world was not a fair place for females in this era.

    Enjoy the history, the drama, the sordid background and the search for the truth. Thoroughly enjoyed this read and recommend it to all. Thanks for the opportunity!!!

  8. It’s been couple of days since I checked back and I was greeted with so many lovely reviews. Thank you everyone for taking the time to read The Naturalist’s Daughter. I’m beyond excited about your responses! I don’t think I’ll have another book out for about twelve months but if anyone would like to keep up with my progress there’s a newsletter sign up on the contact page of my website.
    Thanks again, and all the best!
    Tea

  9. Well what a fantastic book this turned out to be. I was not that sure what I was in for, for me the start was a little uninteresting but once I kept turning the pages my opinion soon changed and the story just enthralled me. An Australian story set between two eras of history 100 years apart told in alternate chapters.

    The first part of the story is set in the early 1800’s in New South Wales, where Rose Winton follows in her father’s footsteps of investigating the life of the platypus. She is a very interesting young lady who has you following her life which is full of adventure, love, romance and who would know what could happen next.

    The other side of the story is set in 1908 of a young Tamsin Alley, who works in the Mitchell library in Sydney and loves to research events of history. The library received a letter to advise that a journal was available for donation to the library but has to be collected. Hence Tamsin is sent to collect the journal only to find the lady in procession of the journal has passed away and the daughter will not release the journal as she feels it is a very valuable and would benefit her and will not donate to the library. The story really starts to unfold when Tamsin begins to follow the events to find out if the journal really belonged to Charles Winton, but this needs to be authenticated. The discovery takes her on an adventure also and she is not willing to give up on the journal until she has proof of its history.

    A fantastic storyline and well written, I would highly recommend to everyone to read, I look forward to reading more novels by Tea Cooper in the future.

  10. The Naturalist’s Daughter by Tea Cooper is one of the best books I have read.
    The storyline spans over a hundred years and the way it is brilliantly written,
    you do not get bogged down trying to fix which era you are in, it flows effortlessly.
    Australian Historical Fiction,a scientific topic,
    mix in two strong willed women ahead of their times,
    and you will be enthralled.
    Tea Cooper describes the discovery and detailed studies of the Platypus
    that anyone with a non-scientific background can easily understand.
    Her portrayal of the young women striving to be acknowledged in a predominatley male world
    will have you cheering for their strength and determination,
    while understanding the barriers they come up against.
    The conclusion has been wonderfully entwined with quite an unexpected twist.
    The Naturalist’s Daughter is one of the few books that has taken it’s place on my
    must read again bookshelf.

  11. I have been most impressed by this beautiful novel written by the talented Australian author, Tea Cooper.

    1808 Agnes Banks, NSW. Rose Winton lives in a rural setting with her father Charles Winton, an eminent naturalist who is studying the platypus. They work closely together and love each other very much. When their world is turned upside down, Rose must be brave and venture alone to ensure her fathers research and discoveries are duly recognised.

    1908 Sydney, NSW. Tamsin Alleyn works at the Mitchell Library in Sydney and has been tasked with travelling to the Hunter Valley to receive an old sketchbook, gifted to the library. What she discovers is a book of questionable value but one that opens up the proverbial Pandora’s Box of intrigue and mystery. Who does the book belong to? Was there more than one contributor?

    I was initially sceptical at the thought of a book based on the study of the platypus; of all the subjects one could base a story on, the platypus didn’t seem to be of great interest to me. However, Tea has masterfully wound an intriguing story, spanning two lives a century apart and developed an intriguing tale of scientific discovery, family units, colonial Australia, history, mystery, scandal and a touch of romance. The cover artwork is also of a wonderful design. A true representation of the location, Agnes Banks and appearance of the character Rose Winton.

    Thank you Tea Cooper for sharing your talents for writing. I have visited your website, signed up to your newsletter and look forward to hearing of your next literary ventures. Thank you also to Harlequin, HQ Fiction and Beauty & Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read this wonderful novel.

  12. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Australia for gifting me this wonderful book to read.

    Where to begin.

    The Naturalist’s Daughter is a story based around the platypus that funny little Australian animal we don’t really know much about.

    It begins in 1808 as Charles Winton has made his discovery of the platypus and has spent many hours with his daughter studying it’s life and habits.

    Rose is the daughter of Charles and when he is unable to go to England and present his findings to the Royal Society of England she goes off on an adventure in his place.

    The story then introduces us to Tasmin who in 1908 works for the Mitchell Library and she has an interest in historical books.
    We follow along on her discoveries she makes as she is looking for a sketchbook.

    This story has two strong female lead characters in Rose and Tasmin who are interconnected by time and both are on a mission involving the mallangong.

    Time takes us from 1808 to 1908 throughout the story and we follow the adventures of Rose and Tasmin and the two times are easy to separate and easy to follow, they seem to flow into each other without the reader getting lost.
    In both times it gives a little snippet into life as it was back then.

    I enjoyed this story so very much and was actually a little disappointed to discover Charles Winton was not real.
    This is such an enchanting read and would recommend anyone to read it.

  13. Tea Cooper’s book “The Naturalist’s Daughter” was a delightful surprise.
    When reading the first chapter I was so sure where this was going and thought it would be story behind a study of the platypus set in the early 1800s
    It was, but it was so much more. The story alternates between the two main characters: Rose Winton who is the Naturalist’s Daughter and Tamsin Alleyn a librarian who is sent to bring back a unique document bequeathed to the library she works for
    The story is a very interesting, intertwined web, and it is not until the final chapters that all falls into place. You will be left guessing as this is not a predictable tale
    I really enjoyed this book as it flipped back and forth between the two women, the 2 centuries and 2 countries.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace book club and Harlequin for the opportunity to read this enjoyable book

  14. I loved this book! For some reason, I thought it would be a bit hard to plough through. Was I wrong about that!!! This book was both captivating and sensitive, riveting and thoughtful and very entertaining. I love historical novels, and ones that swap between different eras are often my favourites.

    This book followed the lives of Rose Winton (in 1808) and Tasmin Alleyn (in 1908). Both these women were strong and courageous, clever and thoughtful, I loved that as a bonus, I learnt some interesting facts about the Platypus.

    This book kept me guessing until the last pages. I will definitely be looking to read more Tea Cooper’s books. She is a wonderful story teller!

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read this book and review it. I loved it!

  15. I 100% loved this wonderful story. The Naturalists Daughter flicks between two different time periods…the early 1800’s and the early 1900’s.
    Tamsin works in a library and has a strong passion for history so when she is sent to the Hunter Valley to take receipt of an old sketch book it seems like a fun adventure and she is thrilled as she believes that the sketch book used to belong to Charles Winton who is a great naturalist. When she arrives to collect the sketch book for the library things dont go quite to plan and she finds herself in a battle to prove that the sketchbook should not be kept by one person but should be gifted to the library so that the public can view it. In her process to prove this she also finds out much about herself.

    The sketch book and the story of Charles Winton take you into the story of Charles daughter, Rose Winton and we learn a lot about her childhood and her relationship with her father. Her wonderful talent for drawing and her knowledge of the platypus which she gained thanks to her father.

    This story kept me interested and puzzling right up until the last.
    I would love to read more of Tea Coopers books and have no hesitation in suggesting that fellow readers get a copy of this book and add it to their reading pile.

  16. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read and review Tea Copper’s The Naturalist’s Daughter.

    This is the second book of Cooper’s that I have been privileged to read and review and having loved “The Currency Lass” I couldn’t wait to read this book. The Naturalist’s Daughter did not disappoint, I was enthralled from the moment I started to read it.

    Cooper has that wonderful ability to seamlessly blend historical fact and fiction together in order to create a piece of work that holds your interest from beginning to end.

    This book is the tale of two Australian women, 100 years apart, the elusive Ornithorrhyncus anatinus, more commonly known as the mallangong, or platypus, a sketchbook, Colonial Australia and female convicts, the disbelief of the Royal Society in London that a creature such as the platypus could be real, dark rites and unanticipated family connections.

    Charles Winton is the naturalist, Rose Winton his daughter, together they observe and document the strange creature known as the platypus. In 1808 Charles is summoned by Sir Joseph Banks to London to present his findings at the Royal Society, but fate intervenes and he is unable to attend. Rose agrees to go in his stead with the precious sketchbook and platypus taxidermy. Nothing could have prepared her for what she faces on arrival.

    100 years later in 1908 a young librarian, Tamsin Allen, from the Public Library in New South Wales is sent to visit a Mrs Quinleaven who lives just outside a small town in the Hunter. Tamsin is advised by her superior that Mrs Quinleaven wishes to donate a sketchbook that she states belonged to Charles Winton to the library.

    However on her arrival Tamsin is shocked to discover that Mrs Quinleaven was buried that morning, and her estranged daughter Mrs Rushworth has no knowledge of any supposed donation, and has no interest in honouring her late mother’s wishes anyway. And then there is the mysterious Shaw Everdene who seems to be the point of liaison between herself and Mrs Rushworth, clearly is as fascinated by the sketchbook as she is and as interested in determining its authenticity.

    As Shaw and Tamsin work to determine the provenance of the sketchbook, and how it came to be in Mrs Quinleaven’s possession the more intricate the mystery becomes, and the more Tamsin is determined to ensure the book takes it rightful place in the Library.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written Australian historical fiction, with the added benefit of learning more about that strange enigma and Australian monotreme, the platypus.

  17. Thank you for the opportunity to review ‘The Naturalist’s Daughter’ by Tea Cooper This is an historical Australian novel that covers the stories of two women, Rose set in 1808 and Tamsin 1908. Both women are educated and forthright believing, against the mores’ of the time, that women are equal to men.
    Rose is working closely with her beloved father on his ground breaking study of the platypus. Tasmin mission is to retrieve a mysterious sketchbook from Rose’s time.
    The author is a expert at intertwining timelines and linking people across them. Rose has close bonds with the local indigenous people and they are able to teach her and her father the intricacies of the platypus.These bonds become important for Tamsin, a century later, in her search for the history of the scrapbook.
    In this novel Cooper weaves mystery, romance, murder and adventure into a story that could almost be true. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to everyone.

  18. Tea Cooper takes us back to the 19th and 20th centuries and the discoveries of Australia’s unique flora and fauna, taking us on an enchanting story of the Mallagong or Platypus as we now know it. There are two central storylines that develop throughout the story, their connection being discovered at the end of the book. Primarily, the story surrounds Rose and her Pa, a naturalist who is researching the Platypus, his discoveries to be shared with Sir Joseph Banks in England. Rose takes her Pa’s work to the Royal Society in England and is met with various hurdles along the way.

    100 years later, Tamsin has been given the task to recover the sketchbook that was taken to Sir Joseph Banks as a donation to her library, however the benefactor passes before she is able to take custody and Tamsin faces her own hurdles to overcome as well as trying to figure out the mysteries surrounding Rose’s story and what eventuated with the Platypus sketchbook.

    This book is best recommended for those that enjoy Australian historical fiction and bibliophiles.
    The story has pace, intrigue, romantic suspense and leaves a bit of mystery at the end. It was a fairly light, enjoyable read, I found the ending a bit quickly wrapped up however.

  19. Tea Cooper has again crafted a masterpiece that weaves its way into your mind that has you picturing each scene she sets out before you.
    The storyline brings with it mystery, intrigue, Australian history, and, of course, a touch of romance.
    Rose Winton aims to take her father’s life’s work to the world, but is stopped by women not being able to attend places where only men could in the 1800s. A century later, Tamsin Alleyn is determined to find out the truth behind a sketchbook, which finds her life inextricably connected with that os Rose’s life 100 years earlier.
    Cooper is an author who manages to educate her readers gently using fiction and they finish her novels feeling they’ve not only been entertained, but learned plenty along the way.
    The Naturalist’s Daughter is the story of the discovery of the platypus and the study of its habits and habitats as well as a story of greed and finding your roots. It also touches on the relationship between white Australians and our original inhabitants, the Aborigines, and how the knowledge of Indigenous Australians aided in much of the knowledge we have of our native flora and fauna. Cooper also explores the place of women in society in previous centuries, with strong, independent women as the central characters.
    I love the women in Cooper’s novels as they are always strong and wanting to improve the world. They are never indecisive, but always have their faults to make them real. They also give other women inspiration and character traits to aspire to.
    This is another fantastic novel from Cooper for those readers who want something a little deeper to sink their teeth into, rather than a run-of-the-mill romance.

  20. Thank you to Harlequin and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review this book!

    Absolutely loved it! Although it took me a little while to get into and I am not used to reading books set in that location and era I soon fell in love and learnt so much! I kept googling things to learn more!

    Thank you Tea Cooper for a very enjoyable read and I look forward to future releases from you!

  21. I loved this so very much.

    I have been trying to find the review I left somewhere else but am having trouble so this is brief but succinct.

    Imaginative and, well written.

    Well done Tea and thanks to HB and BnL

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