Earthly Joys

Earthly Joys

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Sweeping historical novel from Philippa Gregory the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin's Lover. Set in the 1600s and seen through the eyes of John Tradescant, gardener to the great men of the age. A traveller in a time of discovery, the greatest gardening pioneer of his day, yet a man of humble birth: John Tradescant's story is a mirror to the extraordinary age in which he lives. As gardener and confidante to Sir Robert Cecil, Tradescant is well placed to observe the social and political changes that are about to sweep through the kingdom. While his master conjures intrigues at Court, Tradescant designs for him the magnificent garden at Hatfield, scouring the known world for ever more wonderful plants: new varieties of fruit and flower, the first horse chestnuts to be cultivated in England, even larches from Russia. Moving to the household of the flamboyant Duke of Buckingham, Tradescant witnesses at first hand the growing division between Parliament and the people; and the most loyal of servants must find a way to become an independent squire.
Publisher: New York :, St. Martin's Press
Copyright Date: ©1998
ISBN: 9780007396313
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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Jul 07, 2008

John Tradescant (the elder) was one of the most skilled and famous gardeners in English history. He originally makes his mark creating gardens for Sir Robert Cecil before moving to Essex to work for the infamous George Villiers, favorite of kings James I and Charles I. Eventually, John's talents are requested once again ? this time by King Charles himself. Philippa Gregory brings John's love for gardening and botany, as well as his yearning to discover and procure new species of flowers and trees, to life in such a way that the reader can easily share in John's pride and fulfillment in his humble occupation.

My one complaint about the story is that John seems to step wholly out of character when it comes to Villiers, becoming decidedly wishy-washy and taking leave of his senses in a way that seems otherwise incompatible with his personality, even taking into consideration their lord/servant relationship. Despite this, I'm eager to read the sequel, which focuses on his son John Tradescant (the younger).

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