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Virgin Earth (2006)

Virgin Earth (2006)

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3.53 of 5 Votes: 2
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0743272536 (ISBN13: 9780743272537)

About book Virgin Earth (2006)

Review revisited - Originally reviewed and posted at Romance Junkies on Feb 1, 2006.To say I was excited when I received VIRGIN EARTH to review is an understatement, so my expectations were extremely high. American history and American horticultural history are my hot buttons, especially during this time period, so I was hopeful that VIRGIN EARTH would be all I anticipated. Philippa Gregory surpassed those expectations and I devoured this book. John Tradescant the Younger sets sail as a man in grief for his dead wife, the true love of his life. Left with two children to raise, John cannot bear his own sorrow, nor his children's. He's bound for Virginia in 1638 to follow his father's example as a plant collector. Trained at his father's side, John was brought up to believe he will also follow his father as the King's gardener in the future. Will he ever live up to this great man's legacy?John arrives in the wild land of Virginia, full of hopes and dreams. He meets a young Powhatan girl named Suckahanna and she becomes his guide through the wilderness of the new world. By the time he's ready to return to England with his discoveries, he realizes he wants Suckahanna as a wife.Promising to come back to her, John returns to England to his father who is caring for his children. He arrives home to find a strange woman with his children instead. John's father died when John was in Virginia and leaves his dying wishes in a letter, asking that John take Hester as his wife. England is also in turmoil and John feels allegiance to his King and Queen to replace his father as gardener, as well as support them as a loyal servant.John is now torn between two countries and two women, not altogether sure of what he believes in anymore.His honor puts him in the wrong place at the wrong time, which forces his hand to marry a woman he doesn't love and follow a King in a direction he doesn't believe in. His loyalties are continuously twisted and he becomes a man on the run from everything, including religious beliefs.Although John may appear to be indecisive, he is in the process of finding his true self throughout the book. All his weaknesses, strengths, and loyalties are told in such a fashion that you can't help but love this character for all his flaws. He's not your typical hero, so when his insecurities and weaknesses are displayed, you hope he will find his way.An extraordinary story, VIRGIN EARTH isn't like anything I've ever read before and I loved its essence of discovery in a new land. However, there is also great political detail about England when King Charles I fought against Parliament in an effort to keep his throne, throwing the country into a civil war. Philippa Gregory has done an incredible job of bringing the strife of the Powhatan people's beliefs into the forefront, showing their vulnerability as well as their strengths. Since it's based on real historical figures, this piece of fiction explores the Tradescants' historical artifacts collected during that era, and what happened to them, as well as the horticultural discoveries that will make any plant historian giddy.I haven't found very many historicals during this time period with such ease of reading, so I found myself completely absorbed within its almost 700 pages. I highly recommend VIRGIN EARTH to anyone who loves a character in the midst of self-discovery as he travels back and forth between England and America.VIRGIN EARTH is the sequel to EARTHLY JOYS, which I haven't had the pleasure of reading yet, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment at all.This is not a typical love story, but at the end, it is fully satisfying as well as refreshing in its differences. Follow John Tradescant as he realizes he can love more than one woman, more than one country, and more than one people. Available in paperback in the US in April 2006, and currently available in hardback, VIRGIN EARTH is an epic about the 17th century in phenomenal proportion, and I feel, will be enjoyed by every historical fiction fan. It is one of the best I've read in a very long time - it certainly met my expectations and then some.Reviewed by Dorine, courtesy of Romance Junkies on Feb 1, 2006.

Having read The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man Who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold (written by Geoffrey Robertson) and Cromwell, by Antonia Fraser, I have fitted yet another piece of the jigsaw to the puzzle. All three books have a totally different perspective of a most interesting, chaotic and revolutionary period - why England didn't progress to a republic was probably made much clearer in this book than in the other two. People were confused, tired of war mongering and drifted back to the comfort zone, particularly after realising that the power vacuum left after the beheading of Charles 1st was filled by a less satisfactory alternative. Another conundrum had arisen; although they were no longer faced with the problem of separating the state from religion, this was now replaced with the question on how to separate the miliatry from the state. It was easier to drift back to the devil they knew rather than go down a new path with one they didn't.I am fascinated by this period of history and was so delighted to find this book, which not only delves into the political and social history of England during these tulmutuous times, but goes into the colonial aspects of the settlement of the new lands in America. At first I didn't know what to think of J's foray into the forest with the young Indian girl or his later integration with her tribe and then their demise. J's conflict between his sympathies towards the tribe and then his reluctant acceptance that he could not cross the great divide between his culture to theirs without regret, guilt, confusion and loss, evoked a great deal of thought for me. I really enjoyed the way Gregory immersed me into the story so completely I felt a part of it, I lived it. The descriptive narrative drew me into the different cultures with ease and I really felt I had stepped into those worlds. I found myself really thinking about the tragic loss of the tribal nations in the US and reflected on how this has also happened in Australia. I don't apportion blame, as this was an era when it was the norm for the more powerful dictating to the vulnerable. A dog eat dog world at a time when there was slavery, poverty and class divisions. It made me really reflect on the wonderful existence I have now and have enjoyed all my life, even without prestige and money - an impossible scenario in the times of Charles 1st. It also brought home to me the old adage of never understanding such a situation until you "walk that journey in someone else's shoes".If you enjoy history and the meticulous attention to historical detail which creates such an authentic experience for the reader, you will enjoy this book. The quality of research and descriptive narrative by Gregory is superlative.

Do You like book Virgin Earth (2006)?

This is book 2 of a short saga though honestly I think Philippa Gregory could write one more story about Frances. :-)This is another great example of historical fiction by this author. She always comments on social conditions, in my mind she does a great job with this book. Gregory illustrates the travesty of the treatment of the Native Peoples with the Virginia Colony was established. She also does a great job of showing the evolution of thinking in England of that period; the whole issue of a vote for each man and the abuse heaped on the masses by the Kings and their Courts was illuminated.All of the discussion and passion for plants really spoke to this gardener. Philippa Gregory brings history to her, you won't be sorry.

I'm not as fond of this one as I would like to be. I have read books before where I didn't particularly like the main character, so I don't think that is the problem. I'm not sure if I didn't care for the time period or have been spoiled by other authors who have mastered writing about the lives of Native Americans or what. I found a few parts of the book I enjoyed; however, the whole thing gave me a true sense of let down that I can't entirely pinpoint.I don't care for John's ambivalence about

The second volume of two books (including Earthly Joys) telling the absorbing story of two men, the Tradescants, father and son, who rise from the position of royal gardeners to major players on the stage of the English Civil War. Including the founding and expansion of the Virginia colony in the New World, life with the Powhatan tribe and the start of the first museum for the common man, Tradescant’s Ark, the ever-growing cabinet of curiosities that (tragically) seved as the seed for the present-day Ashmolean in Oxford. Philippa Gregory is a visionary with a unique gift for shining a light in the nooks and crannies of history and emerging with a fistful of rare jewels.
—Holly Ollivander

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