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The Botanist's Daughter by Kayte Nunn
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bookshelves: aussie-authors, australian-fiction, historical-fiction, my-books

The Botanists Daughter is the 2018 novel from beloved Australian author Katie Nunn. This novel marked Nunn’s shift from contemporary fiction to historical. As a fan of historical fiction, I eagerly devoured the book in just a few days. Nunn takes her readers to Australia, England and Chile, effectively incorporating the use of both a dual timeline and POV. In 2017, Anna’s storyline begins in Australia, taking her to England. In 1886, readers meet Elizabeth, a Brit whose journey takes her to Chile. With an overarching theme of botany, Nunn makes it relevant by incorporating it with other modern day issues that include family, secrets, legacy, society and women.

Readers first meet Sydneysider Anna at a heartbreaking moment in time. Her beloved grandmother, Gussie, has died. Anna learns that Gussie has left her the house in the will. After hearing many horror stories, I realized that Anna is fortunate that this is not contested by her family members. Anna comes from a family that includes a sister, Vanessa, who she has a strong relationship with, and her young nieces. There is enormous love for one another and respect for the final wishes of the matriarch. I envied the dynamics of this group Renovating Gussie’s home provides Anna with focus, a purpose, as she comes to terms with a major loss. When Anna discovers a hidden metal box and diary, her interest is piqued. When the items inevitable relate to her family, Anna’s life is turned on its head. On a mission to learn her family’s history, Anna finds herself crossing the globe to London, where she must make the ultimate decision. Will Anna return home or continue her life in another country?

In Cornwall, England, Elizabeth is living an unusual life for a woman during the late 1800s. The daughter of a botanist, Elizabeth has lived a life of wealth and privilege. She loves nature and enjoys illustrating plants, a talent she takes pride in. It was a pleasure to to immerse myself in Elizabeth's passion while learning a little along the way. When her father passes away, Elizabeth takes up his lifelong quest; to find a rare and miraculous plant in Chile. I admired Elizabeth for following in her father’s footsteps because it would be a daunting prospect at any time, let alone during this era. Elizabeth’s loyalty to her father brings out her independence but she is also realistic. She realizes that she needs a companion and, she finds one in Daisy, a family maid. Embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, nothing will come between Elizabeth and her father’s wishes. Not even her father’s arch nemesis.

Will Elizabeth find the plant on an expedition? Will it change the course of her life/?

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Reading Progress

March 8, 2021 – Started Reading
March 8, 2021 – Shelved
March 8, 2021 – Shelved as: aussie-authors
March 8, 2021 – Shelved as: australian-fiction
March 8, 2021 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
March 8, 2021 – Shelved as: my-books
March 13, 2021 – Finished Reading

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