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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).
posted Jul 7, 2008 at 9:11PM
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