The True Adventures of Charley Darwin by Carolyn Meyer (Published by Harcourt, January 26, 2009)
Young Charley Darwin, growing up in early 19th century England, has a fascination with science from a very young age. He’d rather perform secret experiments than do his schoolwork. This fascination continues into his young adulthood, when he receives the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to sail around the world with Captain Robert FitzRoy on the Beagle.
The voyage will be long and dangerous, but Charley doesn’t hesitate, even though it means leaving behind Fanny, the girl he cares for who can’t promise to wait for him. The hardships of the journey are lessened by Charley by the many discoveries and observations he makes about the natural world, through the collection and observation of many plants, animals, and other living things.
The True Adventures of Charley Darwin is an interesting historical novel about the childhood and young adult years of the famous naturalist Charles Darwin. It is very different on the surface from Carolyn Meyer’s recent books, because it features a male main character as the narrator. However, it is not really all that different as it features the same attention to historical detail and brings to life the early years of a famous person from history. Recommended for readers who enjoy historical fiction.