From Publishers Weekly
Seventeenth-century England is the setting for this engaging historical novel based on the life of John Tradescant, a gardener of common birth who transforms plain plots of land into slices of heaven on earth. As vassal to the secretary of state, Sir Robert Cecil, Tradescant—who, as fate would have it, had no sense of smell—places his master's garden above all else, much to the chagrin of his wife, Elizabeth, and young son, J. Tradescant's affinity for botanicals is matched by his thirst for adventure; in the service of his lord, he travels to distant lands to defend his country's honor (and collect cuttings of rare and exotic plants). When Tradescant is summoned by King James I's closest confidante, the dark-haired and devious Duke of Buckingham, he is immediately taken by the nobleman's beauty. Devotion soon turns to erotic obsession, and Tradescant must face the consequences of loving a fickle, heartless man. Gregory (The Virgin's Lover
; The Other Boleyn Girl
) renders lush details of plants and clever commentary on the passions and power plays of the British royal court. Only the occasional detail-heavy battle scene slows this vibrant tale of a man grappling with the liabilities of loyalty and love.
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From Library Journal
John Tradescant, gardener to Lord Cecil, depends on a well-ordered universe in which he serves a master, who serves the crown, who serves God. When James I succeeds Elizabeth, the social fabric begins to unravel. The disastrous rule of Charles I stirs more discontent among the people, including John's wife and son. As he searches for new plants and creates fabulous gardens for wealthy patrons, John witnesses court dissipation and corruption. His loyalty to Lord Buckingham, a man unsurpassed in beauty, ambition, and self-indulgence, changes John from servant to lover, bringing him guilt as well as pleasure before Buckingham's rejection. Gregory's (The Little House, LJ 10/1/96) strong plotting, intriguing characters, and rich evocation of a time and place will leave readers eager for the promised sequel about John's son. Highly recommended for historical fiction collections.?Kathy Piehl, Mankato State Univ., MN
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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