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Virgin Earth Hardcover – Dec 21 1999

5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Dec 21 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312206178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312206178
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #766,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In the stand-alone sequel to her Earthly Joys, Gregory follows royal gardener John Tradescant the Younger back and forth across the Atlantic between colonial Virginia and war-torn England. When John first travels to Virginia to collect exotic plants in 1638, his guide is a beautiful young Indian girl named Suckahanna. After transporting his specimens to England, he plans to return and marry her, but once at home, he learns that his father has died, leaving a letter suggesting that John marry the efficient Hester Pooks. Needing someone to care for his two children by a previous marriage, as well as for the Tradescant collection of rare objects and the Ark, the family's famous garden, John weds Hester. Meanwhile, the foolish, tyrannical King Charles I is dragging England into a civil war, and John, as a trusted servant, is pulled unwillingly into his service. To avoid having to fight for a cause he does not believe in, John returns to Virginia and Suckahanna, leaving Hester and his children back in England. In Virginia he tries to start a plantation, but having no idea how to live off the land, nears death before he is rescued by the Powhatan, Suckahanna's people. Once again John must choose sides in a war, this time between the Powhatan and the English. John is torn between them, just as he is torn between the two women in each of those separate realms. This hefty epic illuminates the conflicts of the 17th century with clear prose and a believable cast of characters, and will draw in casual readers and lovers of history alike. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Set in 17th-century England and Virginia, this saga begins as John Tradescant the Younger, Charles I's gardener, sails to the New World in search of rarities for his gardens. Not only does he find exotic plants, but he also glimpses unimagined freedom. His father's death leads John to a marriage of convenience in England. Unwilling to fight for Charles I, he returns to Virginia, where he joins the Powhatan and finds a wife. But eventually John loses his place in the tribe because of his inability to kill settlers. Determined to maintain a commitment to his English family, he goes home to a country buffeted by civil war. John strives to keep his family safe, but his gift for survival ultimately rings hollow. In fact, this novel is tepid compared with its predecessor, Earthly Joys. Readers who enjoyed that volume will want its sequel, but others may find it hard to care about a character whose loyalties shift so readily and so often.
-Kathy Piehl, Mankato State Univ., MN
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Dec 7 1999
Format: Hardcover
Virgin Earth, the sequel to the simply wonderful Earthly Joys, is nothing less than amazing. It tells the story of John Tradescant, Jr, a man haunted by the fame of his famous gardener father, a man who just lost his wife to the plague, and who has left his two little children to go plant hunting in Virginia. The book goes back and forth between Virginia and England, painting vivid pictures of England during its Civil War, and also of America during its savage beginnings. The lives of King Charles, Cromwell, the natives and settlers in Virginia, as well as John himself all intertwine, making this book one of the most elegant and compelling historical novels I have ever read!
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Format: Paperback
I find Philippa Gregory to be a frustrating author. some of her novels I find totally engrossing, others are OK or even "Who cares?"
Virgin Earth is OK. It's problem is that it followed "Earthly Joys" which I found excellent - and I expected this sequel to be equally well written and engrossing. Not so.
Mind you, it added a great deal to my understanding of settlement in the colony of Virginia, the trade between Virginia and England and the relations between settlers and native people in that time and place. That was a plus. So was the sense of time and history within England and the personal tragedies falling from the political gamesmanship.

But as a character Gregory portrays John Tradescant the Younger as being all over everywhere, and that just doesn't work. He comes across as shallow, wishy-washy and very difficult to care about. His dual personas as gardener and adventurer do not fit comfortably together - the book lacks the unity of "Earthly Joys"
That said, Gregory's historical novels have an energy and an insight that makes them an interesting read. Her research seems thorough and brings to light little-known facts that enliven her story.
I find that I take Ashmole's treachery personally, so yes, I identify with the main character. I find it hard to imagine England without horse chestnut trees. I grow tradescentia in my garden. And I thank Philippa Gregory for teaching me all of this.
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By Booklover on Jan. 14 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's not as fast-paced as some of her other books but it is good nonetheless. I unfortunately read it before Earthly Joys, so it's now out of sequence. Will see if that makes a difference.
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By barb underwood on Sept. 14 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
luved it more than earthly joys
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martin Pitchon on Nov. 22 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I guess I haven't read this novel yet but it follows another one I enjoyed very much.
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