I am a historical fiction fan. I have read some of Philippa Gregory’s bestsellers, and I’ve liked them, but not loved them. Books like The Other Boleyn Girl are what I call “pop historical fiction,” and while they can be enjoyable, historical fiction purists typically find them disappointing. That’s why I was surprised to enjoy Virgin Earth as much as I did. I didn’t just like this book, I loved it!
Gregory’s research about England and colonial America during the reign of King Charles I laid a fine background for a novel about a gardener to the king, John Tradescant, and the struggle for survival in an era where conflicting loyalties were not welcomed.
I also greatly appreciated the author’s knowledge of plants (of which I have a little myself), and the love of botany that the main character shares with the reader.
Virgin Earth is a stand-alone sequel to an earlier release called Earthly Joys. I’m definitely going to put that novel on my TBR list. There is so much to enjoy about Virgin Earth, it is exciting, historical and definitely a page-turner. It is right up there with the works of Edward Rutherfurd and Sharon Kay Penman.
5 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2006