vendredi 14 septembre 2012

Earthly Joys - Philippa Gregory

My summer reading was garden based - Earthly Joys by the author Philippa Gregory, well known for her historical fictionn and who also wrote the better known 'The Other Boleyn Girl'.  History is not my usual reading fare but this book grabbed my attention because, according to the jacket the book centered around the life of a gardener, John Tradescant, in Tudor Times.

I loved the book, I loved the story and its twists and turns and its insight into what it meant to be a gardener and an employee in Tudor times.  It is also a love story - a love of plants, adventure, travel and a love between a servant and master, husband and wife, father and son, showing how some of the great gardens and Palaces of England were created, how the Royalty operated, how new species of plants were introduced to England and the wonder and curiosity they aroused, with some accurate and well researched gardening practices of the time, giving an insight into growing and nuturing plants and finally touching on the battle for the Isle de Ré, the plauge, childrearing and feminist issues including treachery, fidelity, betrayal, death and heartbreak - and not where you expect them!

John Tradescant starts his life as a lowly gardener and slowly, through his travels financed by his employees, collects new species of plants and introduces them to his master's and his own garden.  He becomes well known and his reputation as a gardener grows to great heights, and he is much sought after by Royalty and noblemen alike.  To fulfill the wishes of his master 'to eat melons in the winter', he devises a heated wall to protect and nurture plants and vegetables out of season, he devises a waterfall where the fish swim according to their colour.  His every wish is to please his master and make the enormous gardens he is entrusted with, as a sheer viewing pleasure and fully aesthetic for the owners and how the gardeners were striving for perfection in all seasons.

Here's a review by someone else:-

And here's where you can buy it

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