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Virgin Earth (Tradescant #2)

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,044 Ratings  ·  245 Reviews
As England descends into civil war, John Tradescant the Younger, gardener to King Charles I, finds his loyalties in question, his status an ever-growing danger to his family. Fearing royal defeat and determined to avoid serving the rebels, John escapes to the royalist colony of Virginia, a land bursting with fertility that stirs his passion for botany. Only the native Amer ...more
Paperback, 661 pages
Published April 5th 2006 by Touchstone (first published 1999)
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Ann I have not read Earthly Joys (though it awaits me) and am enjoying this book v ... so cannot say if you will enjoy it 'as much'
sometimes it is fun to…more
I have not read Earthly Joys (though it awaits me) and am enjoying this book v ... so cannot say if you will enjoy it 'as much'
sometimes it is fun to read things backwards and know how (in this case a succession of generations) develop
this is the first Philippa Gregory I have read, but not the last - she handles difficult situations and broken people really well! (less)
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe White Queen by Philippa GregoryThe Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa GregoryThe Constant Princess by Philippa GregoryThe Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
Best Books by Philippa Gregory
17th out of 33 books — 159 voters
Outlander by Diana GabaldonThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyWorld Without End by Ken Follett
Best Historical Fiction Set in UK and Ireland
210th out of 1,082 books — 1,156 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 25, 2009 Laurie rated it it was amazing
Both of these books, Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, about the Tradescant family in 17th century England were absolute page turners for me. I learned a great deal about English history of which I was unaware, and Gregory filled in many unknowns for me through exellent story-telling. I'm a true Gregory fan (amongst thousands of others, to be sure!)
Diana Pauksta
Apr 13, 2009 Diana Pauksta rated it did not like it
I liked The Other Boleyn girl, so I thought this would be a good, fast read. The first 1/3rd was mildly interesting. I was hoping the character development would continue, but it abruptly stopped when she started focusing several chapters on the Royalists vs. Parliamentarians. It didn't really seem pertinent to the main story...if there was a main story. Gregory could have removed the entire middle of the book and saved readers from a 650+ page book that ended up being a waste of time (in my opi ...more
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 fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
B the BookAddict
Jun 06, 2014 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historical fiction buffs
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Goodreads
Shelves: hist-fiction

Really informative about England 1638 onwards, Charles I (what a self absorbed monarch he was), the English civil war, about Virgina US and, of course, about the Tradescant gardens. It's a real shame that the Tradescants were swindled out of their three generation's heritage by Elias Ashmole and their original Rarities museum is now know as Ashmoleum Museum at Oxford. 3.75
Aug 04, 2015 Lanette rated it it was ok
Having read "Earthly Joys", I took this one with me on a 14 hour plane ride thinking I would really enjoy it. Not so much. The characters made me mad, there was way less gardening and way more war, and it just wasn't what I expected it to be. Furthermore, the ending was terrible. Had I been at home, I might have thrown the book against the wall. Not wanting to get thrown off the plane, I had to force myself not to.
Feb 10, 2009 Nicole rated it liked it
Sequel to Earthly Joys.
Living in the time of civil war when the goals are so confused is reflected in Tradescant the Younger's life. In 1633, Tradescant acquired Scarlet Runner Beans sent from Virginia, and started growing them at Oatlands as an ornamental plant for their flowers.
His own travels to America began with Charles I sending him in 1637 "to gather all rarities of flowers, plants, and shells." He made two more trips to the Virginian colony in 1642 and 1654. Around these three trips the
Jul 06, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 04, 2007 Laura rated it liked it
If you enjoy Phillipa Gregory's historic fictions, you will enjoy this one. This is technically a sequel to her book Earthly Joys, but I never read Earthly Joys and I don't think you miss anything - they are described as 'free standing.' The book takes place during the early to mid 1600's during a period of civil war in England. A royal gardener, John Tradscant, sets off to the royal colony in Virginia in an attempt to escape not only war-torn England but also to escape some tragedy in his perso ...more
Elizabeth Nesbit-comer
Mar 08, 2013 Elizabeth Nesbit-comer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved the perspectives in this story. John Transcendant takes you from a waring England to the settlers in Virgina and even over to the side of the natives as he tries to find a place in the world where he fits. My favorite part of the book was his time with Suckhanna and the Powhatan. Just the descriptions of this big clumsy man over dressed in the heat trying to make his way through the forest while Suckhanna moved gracefully like a deer made the experience a worth while read. The joys of g ...more
Julia Grey
Aug 26, 2015 Julia Grey rated it it was amazing
Absolutely enjoyed this book! As usual, Philippa Gregory did not disappoint me; I have also been inspired to look into this era of English history and will enjoy reading more about Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II. This book is meticulously researched and written so well, I could almost smell the flowers and see the tulips. What an amazing author. I will make sure I get a full list of her books and read them all.
Jul 05, 2009 Lauren rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 28, 2009 Suzi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book landed in my lap at a time when I was kick-starting my desire for pleasure reading after a long dry spell of non-fiction. A little long winded and I didn't have a great sense of satisfaction in the end, but the journey was somewhat pleasant and at times thought provoking.

The story took place in England, the new American settlements, back in England, back to America, over multiple wars, took on slavery, polygamy, democratic uprisings, etc, etc. But the redeeming factor for me is horticu
Rebecca Hecking
Jun 28, 2015 Rebecca Hecking rated it liked it
Shelves: bits-of-fiction
Philippa Gregory is my guilty pleasure. I love historical fiction in general. She always offers a nice, easy, relaxing read and I always end up learning a little about the period, in this case the English civil war of the 1600s. The book is set in two locales, Jamestown Virginia, and England. I felt the Jamestown portions were a little weaker, and her portrayal of Native Americans was a little off. (For example, she uses words like "princess" and "lord" for members of the Powhaten, which falls f ...more
Ari Apa
Jul 26, 2015 Ari Apa rated it it was ok
So boring.
Feb 15, 2015 Tarina rated it really liked it
4/5 means I LOVED it but i understand it's not for everyone

I LOVE Philippa Gregory, she is my favorite author and I adore everything she writes. In reality I think everyone should read all of her novels BUT I know that most people aren’t really into historical fiction. If you like the genre read this book, it’s a wonderful adventure, if you don’t like the genre, read this book it’s a wonderful adventure.
Virgin Earth tells the story of John Tradescant the Younger living in the middle of the 17th
May 21, 2016 Jan rated it really liked it
Well written, 2nd in a series. I never read Earthly Joys, however, one does not have to, to enjoy this book. Story, John Tradescant leaves England to journey to America in the 1600's. It is a wild primitive place. He has many adventures, returns to England, marries for a 2nd time, although he left his heart behind. England has a civil war, there are Royalists and Cromwell, and it is not a great time to be a gardener to the King, of which John and his father (now deceased) are. I never did like t ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Francine rated it it was amazing
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
Andrew Brown
Aug 02, 2011 Andrew Brown rated it it was amazing
This novel, particularly when coupled with 'Earthly Joys' opened my eyes to this whole period of History. Compelling, historically fascinating and utterly brilliant: this book is a real page turner!
Holly Ollivander
Aug 08, 2015 Holly Ollivander rated it it was amazing
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 presen ...more
Mar 10, 2008 Leanne rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mia Forgosh
Jan 02, 2013 Mia Forgosh rated it really liked it
Another great historical fiction piece. I am a sucker for a book that teaches me something and entertains me at the same time.
Dec 22, 2015 ladilune rated it really liked it
Perpetrator of many of my farming/gardening fantasies. History was quite humanized, though if you seek history in its purest, straight-faced form, better stay out. Though not too bad since accuracy, I imagine, was taken into serious account. Plot-wise, it was rather dependent on history; though certain twists were good and also had semi-engaging writing style. I like the candid contrast between the restless kingdom and the constant growing of the plants. It has made me interested in Colonial Ame ...more
May 09, 2016 Emma rated it it was ok
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did the original counterpart.

I struggled the like Baby J / J / John Tradescant the Younger in the first book anyway, thinking he was spoiled and narrow-minded, so to go on and read an entire novel based around his continuing selfishness was difficult. Hey, I can't not read a sequel...

At the start of the novel he was running away from his problems and by the end of it he gives this whole speech about how he's finally found his belief - yawn.

His interlude w
Nov 16, 2014 Dorine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, historical
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 g
Jul 18, 2011 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a great deal, and even found that I understood J's reluctance to commit himself in the long term to either of the lives that he found himself living. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Powhatan daily life and grieved for their heinous treatment by the settlers, after the peaceful natives made the regrettable error of keeping the English alive through their early struggles against the wilderness. I grieved as well for the lost beauty and sanctity of the "virgin earth."

Jun 27, 2012 Alicia rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2012 Bookguide rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember reading any acknowledgements or references to research which Philippa Gregory used to write this book, but as she is respected enough as a historian to feature occasionally on ITV's archeological programme 'Time Team', so I can only assume she did her research on this book. The English Civil War is a period of history I know little about, so it was interesting to read about the various battles and factions. The way in which the information was presented, bound together with the ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Ria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sweeping, compelling novel following the family saga of the Tradescants, the famous kings gardeners, John tradescant the younger is struggling to hold onto the Ark, a famous, grand place where everyone can go to view curiosities and rare plants from across the world, in the wake of the death of his wife John is bereft and unsure of where to turn next and how best to conduct the course of his life, trapped into a loveless marriage essentially arranged by his deceased father John feels nothing b ...more
May 14, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
To be fair before I comment, I must admit that I didn't read the first book of this series before I started this one. I don't think you need to read the first but t may have helped. The tale is set as Charles I is taking the country into the civil war and is a period of history that I knew little about. The story, as with most of Gregory's work was well told and I was quite enamoured with John Tradescant the main character, she explored his flaws and his character well. However I did find most o ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please Add Edition and Combine. 3 17 Mar 03, 2014 03:23PM  
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Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acc ...more
More about Philippa Gregory...

Other Books in the Series

Tradescant (2 books)
  • Earthly Joys (Tradescant, #1)

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“If you mean Charles Stuart,' Frances's voice rang out clearly in the hall, 'then calling him "he of whom you were speaking" is hardly a brilliant disguise. And if that is your idea of deep concealment then I don't anticipate great success, on the day of which you have spoken, or any other day, actually.” 3 likes
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