Carol Rogers's Reviews > Virgin Earth

Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory
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's review
Oct 17, 2011

really liked it

This book is an eye opener into the Civil War from the perspective of an ordinary family. John Tradescant is the King's gardener and loves his work and he loves his king. As the political landscape turns he is torn between his loyalty to his king and his loyalty to his country. As a gardener his love of plants gives him an escape to return to the colony of Virginia where he is able to devote himself to collecting plants. Instead he finds himself devoted to the Powhatan girl who helps him.

I enjoyed this book because, as always with Gregory, the historical fiction shows life in an everyday setting with the historical facts making sense and affecting the characters' lives. The story is perhaps not quite as credible as some of her others, but is very enjoyable as a novel. From my research since reading the book, it is interesting to look at what facts are known about the Tradescants and although it is known that John Tradescant the younger did visit Virginia at least once, the details of his visit(s) are not agreed.

Since I know the history of the times the political outcome in the book is no surprise, but as I had no knowledge of John Tradescant reading the story of his life in the book was like reading any fiction. Where Gregory has taken facts and added ficition is, as always, difficult to speculate but that is what makes her work interesting. Some of the plot is not as credible as others, but nonetheless it make this an interesting novel.

The book is long and at times drawn out which is something I have had problems with before. With over 500 pages, there are events which could have been reduced to a sentence or two and some descriptions which are unnecessary.

I would recommend this book to all who like historical fiction and in particular to anyone who wants to find out more about everyday life in the times of cavaliers and roundheads. Since this book is not written from the point of view of the royals, it is possible to see how difficult the civil war was for those who were just trying to live their lives. It is also an interesting read for those who enjoy reading about and finding out what life was like in the early colonies.

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