Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2)

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Being a Phillipa Gregory fan I will add another of her books to my favorite list. I read this and could absolutely picture the era! The trials and the turmoil the character faces are what keeps you reading it in every spare moment. Great story and the history of that time is brought right to your imagination.

Donna F.

‎Virgin Earth on Apple Books

Delivers a story of politics, personal discovery and amazing gardening. An intelligent and satisfying read. Cleverly conceived and executed historical narrative.

Suzanne M. Angela P. Philippa Gregory is probably my favorite author right now, and would like to pass this on to another fan, or prehaps someone who hasn't read her yet. This is about the gardner to King Charles the First. He is able to travel to the new colonies of America and is able to meet an Indian girl over there who teaches him the ways of the land. But will he stay in America, or will he return to England?

Melanie V. A very good follow up on "A Respectable Trade". I didn't care for the adult version of Johnny Tradescant. He was self absorbed and without heart. So unlike his father. Mostly they were built of wood, planks of untreated crudely sawn boards overlaid one across the other, roofed with mats of badly thatched straw. No gardens, J noted at once. But everywhere, in every patch of ground, at every corner, even lining the roadside, were tall ungainly plants with leaves broad and flat like those of tulips, flopping over.

He hardly glanced over his shoulder. He had seen the plant before, but he had not thought they would grow it to the exclusion of everything else, in the very streets of their new city.

He took his bag and made his way down the gangplank to the crowded quayside. I am John Tradescant the younger, gardener to the king. He has commanded me to make a collection of rare plants, and rarities of all sorts. Here is his letter. Sir John did not take it. He merely nodded his head in reply.

The governor turned and extended his hand. J shook the proffered two fingers. Call tomorrow and I shall be at leisure to receive you.


The governor had already turned his back. Or the people are extraordinarily hospitable. He found the first inn by the haunting smell of stale ale. As he paused in the doorway there was a loud baying noise of a big dog and a shrill shout commanding it to be silent. J tapped lightly on the door and stepped in. It was dark inside; the air was thick with smoke, almost unbreathable for a stranger. J's eyes stung and he felt his breath catch.

J blinked tears from his eyes and saw her better: a woman of about fifty with the leathery skin and hard eyes of a survivor. She wore rough wooden clogs on her feet, a homespun skirt kilted up out of the way, a shirt that had once belonged to a man twice her size and a shawl tied tightly around her shoulders. And drink? Or tobacco? Maybe you'd had the sense to buy some on the quayside, seeing as every planter in the colony was selling there today.

Maybe you're a returning planter coming back to your rich fields. How would I know? I should like a wash too. When will my dinner be ready? You'll sleep in the attic along with the rest of us. You'll share a pallet bed with my son or with whoever next comes through the door. Dinner will be ready as soon as it's cooked, which will be the quicker if I can get on now.

Then she moved to a barrel in the corner and drew him a mug of ale.

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I'll keep the tally. She need not have warned him not to drink the water.

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It came out of the pump in a brown brackish spout, stinking horribly. Still, it was better than seawater, and J stripped and washed all over, and then pulled on his breeches and sat himself down on a pile of sawn wood and shaved himself, feeling his skin with his fingertips to guide his razor. The ground still heaved uneasily under his feet, as if he were on board ship. He had told him that it was the same after any long voyage.

For a moment J thought of his father at home, and the two children. For a moment he had the sweetest of illusions that Jane was there too, caring for them, awaiting his return. It seemed so much more likely that she would be there, waiting for him, than that she should be dead and he never see her again. The moment was so strong that he had to remind himself of the orangery and the pallet bed, and her white-faced determination that she should die alone rather than pass the plague to him and to her children.

The thought of it made him sick to the stomach with grief, and he dropped his head in his hands as the cool Virginia twilight wrapped him in darkness, and he knew that he had sailed to the new world, to the new land, but brought his three-year-old grief all that long way with him. Do you think Gregory does a convincing job of creating her main male character, John Tradescant?

Do you think he is more or less realistic than the women in this novel, such as his wife, Hester, or his daughter, Frances? Virgin Earth is primarily concerned with English history and the story of an English man caught in the middle of tragic, but thrilling, times. Why, then, do you think Gregory chose to open the novel with John's first voyage to Virginia and his introduction to Suckahana?

During John's first visit to Virginia, Mistress Whitely the Innkeeper tells him of the Indian rising of and the way the relationship between the Indians and settlers changed for the worse thereafter. How does the settlers' fear and hatred of the Indian "pagans" compare to the English persecution and abhorrence of Roman Catholics and "popists? Compare and contrast these situations and John's role in each. Hester refuses to go with John to Virginia on his second voyage, which leads to a series of events that eventually lands him with Suckahana.

Do you view Hester's decision as a betrayal? Is she at all responsible for John's infidelity? Do you sympathize more with John's reasons for leaving, or Hester's for staying? Throughout the novel, John and Hester are constantly in opposition. John fears and flees the upheaval caused by King Charles I, while Hester prefers to face the known dangers of the English war and shies from the unknown New World in Virginia.

Who has the stronger character?

Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2) Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2)
Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2) Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2)
Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2) Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2)
Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2) Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2)
Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2) Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2)
Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2) Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2)
Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2) Virgin Earth: A Novel (Earthly Joys, Book 2)

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