Charles and Emma : The Darwins’ Leap of Faith

Whether or not you agree with his theories or publications, you’ll find out through this book that Charles Darwin was a family man who was committed to his 10 children and devoted to his Christian wife Emma. Ironically, his original life plan was to be a preacher, but then as he collected animal specimens and devoured natural history, he wrestled with the belief of creationism.

Despite their conflicting religious views, Emma and Charles married. Emma never stopped challenging Charles beliefs, and Charles kept an open mind. But their differences did not get in the way of their very happy marriage. Emma birthed 10 children, and lost 3 of them, which deeply grieved the couple. Despite their losses they coped and raised the remaining children in a happy household. He was very much a hands-on father.

Charles was not all science by any means: He bathed the baby, kissed him, hugged him, walked him when he cried; he was anything but the stereotypical distant father so often portrayed in Victorian literature. He hated to watch his baby cry. “His sympathy with the grief spoiled his observation,” one of his other sons later wrote about him. So his worries about loss of time when he had children were unfounded – he could be a scientist and a father at the same time.

This book is impeccably researched – you will learn a great deal about Darwin the great scientist and Charles the simple man and loving father. He lived a very full life, fathered not just his 10 children, but also birthed evolutionary theory. For those looking for a compelling and personal biography on Darwin, this will not disappoint.

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