Friday, 16 March 2012

Review: Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory

Earthly Joys is another one of Philippa Gregory's fantastic Tudor novels. Gregory writes about English royalty and politics, lust and deception of 17th century England. Following through the royals, King James is newly crowned the King of England and has loyal advisors such as Cecil Roberts and the Duke of Buckingham. The story is told from the point of view of John Tradescant, a famous gardener. John’s skill as a gardener catches the attention of powerful men in England who want to create amazing gardens in their homes to show off their wealth to the royal court. 

Although this book has a lot of details of plants, which I know little of, I nether-the-less enjoyed all the descriptions of the plants and travels that occurred to obtain plants rare in England. This book is about the gardens of England but also John and his son John, and how the attitudes of common people were changing towards their royalty and their quest for freedom and the ability to possess their own private land. Events in America at the time was having an impact on the English population, they were becoming angry with the extravagance of the English royalty while the country was suffering from bad harvests and the plague. 

Sir Robert Cecil, advisor to the newly crowned King James I, relies on his loyal gardener for practical advice. Combining beautifully ordered landscapes with the turmoil of a country teetering toward civil war, the author brilliantly brings the past to life through the eyes of one remarkable man and his family.

Although I enjoyed this book, The Other Boleyn Girl still has to be my all time favourite by Philippa Gregory!!

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