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Earthly Joys: A Novel (1998)

por Philippa Gregory

Séries: Tradescant (1)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,1962912,136 (3.43)56
Sweeping historical novel from Philippa Gregory the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin's Lover. Set in the 1600s and seen through the eyes of John Tradescant, gardener to the great men of the age. A traveller in a time of discovery, the greatest gardening pioneer of his day, yet a man of humble birth: John Tradescant's story is a mirror to the extraordinary age in which he lives. As gardener and confidante to Sir Robert Cecil, Tradescant is well placed to observe the social and political changes that are about to sweep through the kingdom. While his master conjures intrigues at Court, Tradescant designs for him the magnificent garden at Hatfield, scouring the known world for ever more wonderful plants: new varieties of fruit and flower, the first horse chestnuts to be cultivated in England, even larches from Russia. Moving to the household of the flamboyant Duke of Buckingham, Tradescant witnesses at first hand the growing division between Parliament and the people; and the most loyal of servants must find a way to become an independent squire. en Parliament and the people; and the most loyal of servants must find a way to become an independent squire.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 29 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
While mysteries and suspense are my favourite genres, I do enjoy historical fiction as well. I've often had patrons at the library recommend Philippa Gregory to me. Earthly Joys is the first book I've read by Gregory.

Earthly Joys opens in 1603 with the death of Queen Elizabeth and the succession of her cousin King James VI of Scotland - the beginning the Stuart reign of England. Earthly Joys is written through the eyes of and life of gardener John Tradescant. It was only on further investigation that I learned that Tradescant is an actual historical figure. He was gardener to the aristocracy , a traveler, a collector and much, much more.

Gregory's research is detailed and her fictionalization of Tradescant's life is fascinating. He is a strong personality, but loyalty, honour and duty drive the decisions in his life. I quite liked him to begin with, but found my opinion often changed as his life progressed. And that was true of many of the characters, including his wife Elizabeth and son John. They are not as mercurial as John the Elder, but I applauded their views, beliefs and hopes for a different society. There are some particularly vile characters - notably the Duke of Buckingham.

Tradescant's love of plants and trees and his skills are so vividly depicted that I felt I could 'see' his garden. Rich detail is woven throughout Gregory's narrative clearly illustrating both time and place.

Now, this isn't a time period I would normally gravitate to, but I chose to listen to Earthly Joys, which made a huge difference. I felt drawn into the story, could make sense of what political machinations were afoot and the characters sprang to life for me.

The reader was David Rintoul and he was absolutely wonderful. He has a powerful voice and uses it well. He captured the character of John the Elder perfectly, using his voice to interpret Gregory's work and bring it life. His tones are rich and sonorous with a lovely gravelly undertone. He uses a softer tone for the female players that works just as well. His voice is pleasant to listen to and easy to understand. He matches his voice to the tenor of the tale. Listen to an excerpt of Earthly Joys.

Earthly Joys covers the whole of John the Elder's life. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Tradescant story continues in a sequel titled Virgin Earth with John the Younger taking the lead role. ( )
  Twink | Sep 22, 2018 |
A delightful and fascinating background to much of modern gardening as well as the social history of the time. Anyone with only a passing interest in gardening, history and family loyality, will find something of joy in 'Earthly Joys'. The travails of John Tradescant are set against a turbulent climate in Britsh history, that aside we are never far from the emotions of one man and his family. I shall always now think of John Tradescant when looking at my tradescantia! ( )
  Jawin | Dec 29, 2017 |
Philippa Gregory takes a step outside her Tudor / War of the Roses comfort zone in this thoroughly enjoyable book set in early 17th-century England and focusing on the comparatively unfamiliar figure of John Tradescant the Elder. The most celebrated horticulturalist and naturalist of the age, Tradescant served successively as gardener to Sir Robert Cecil and the Duke of Buckingham - a task which takes him across Europe in search of new and exotic specimens for his lords' gardens. Many of the plants he brings back have become mainstays of English gardens - the horse-chestnut, for example. Gregory conveys the thrilling possibilities of an age when any journey might result in discoveries of plants and animals - and an age when an expanding world was also the catalyst for new ideas about duty, kingship and the rights of the people. As Tradescant watches from the outer ring of court hangers-on, he sees the English monarchy losing its place in people's hearts as the throne passes from Elizabeth to James and then to Charles. Times are dangerous and radical ideas even begin to take root in the loyal Tradescant's own family.

I haven't read many of Gregory's books and I enjoyed this much more than I expected to. My main criticism would be that, as ever, she can't resist sexing up history a little bit - and I suspect that poor old Tradescant would turn in his grave if he could see what his fictional self was getting up to. But, if you take this with a small pinch of salt, it offers a glimpse into an aspect of British history that very rarely crops up in novels, and the combination of sprightly writing and loving descriptions of gardens should appeal to lots of green-fingered readers. For myself, I very much enjoyed the chance to learn more about Tradescant - a remarkable man - and I'll be looking out for a proper biography in the hope of filling in some of the gaps (and learning more about his travels, which were much more significant than Gregory gives them credit for, I think). In any case, it's always good to find a novel set in a less familiar period of history, and I'm going to be reading the sequel, Virgin Earth, before too long.

For a full review, please see my blog:
http://theidlewoman.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/earthly-joys-philippa-gregory.html ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Nov 24, 2013 |
Another wonderful book written by Philippa Gregory, This is a story of the historical account of England in the 17th Century as told through the words and work of the Royal Gardener, who is very much involved in the lives of the King and his advisers. Interesting and fun reading for those who enjoy British history be it historical fiction or factual. Philippa Gregory never disappoints me. I learned much as I follow John Tradescant in his quest for rare and exotic flora to bring to the King's grand gardens. ( )
  luckycharm6139 | Jul 10, 2013 |
I love Philippa Gregory. She's gifted writer and has the wonderful ability to make her characters come alive. I think there's a sequel to this story so I'm going to look it up! ( )
  coffeenut1992 | May 16, 2013 |
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Sweeping historical novel from Philippa Gregory the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin's Lover. Set in the 1600s and seen through the eyes of John Tradescant, gardener to the great men of the age. A traveller in a time of discovery, the greatest gardening pioneer of his day, yet a man of humble birth: John Tradescant's story is a mirror to the extraordinary age in which he lives. As gardener and confidante to Sir Robert Cecil, Tradescant is well placed to observe the social and political changes that are about to sweep through the kingdom. While his master conjures intrigues at Court, Tradescant designs for him the magnificent garden at Hatfield, scouring the known world for ever more wonderful plants: new varieties of fruit and flower, the first horse chestnuts to be cultivated in England, even larches from Russia. Moving to the household of the flamboyant Duke of Buckingham, Tradescant witnesses at first hand the growing division between Parliament and the people; and the most loyal of servants must find a way to become an independent squire. en Parliament and the people; and the most loyal of servants must find a way to become an independent squire.

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