Earthly Joys (1998): Philippa Gregory

★★★ ½

Moving away from her usual stamping-ground of the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors, Philippa Gregory turns her attention in this novel to a much less familiar aspect of British history: the development of 17th-century botany and horticulture. At its heart is John Tradescant the Elder, the most celebrated gardener of his time, whose life spanned from the twilight of the Elizabethan age to the brink of the Civil War, and who did more than any of his contemporaries to encourage and enrich the love of gardening in England.

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