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Summary

One of The Times’ 25 Best Audiobooks.

A sweeping historical novel from Philippa Gregory, the internationally best-selling author of The Other Boleyn Girl.

A brand-new recording available as an unabridged digital audio edition for the first time.

A traveller in a time of discovery, the greatest gardening pioneer of his day, yet a man of humble birth: John Tradescant's story is a mirror to the extraordinary age in which he lives.

As gardener and confidant to Sir Robert Cecil, Tradescant is well placed to observe the social and political changes that are about to sweep through the kingdom. While his master conjures intrigues at Court, Tradescant designs for him the magnificent garden at Hatfield, scouring the known world for ever more wonderful plants: new varieties of fruit and flower, the first horse chestnuts to be cultivated in England, even larches from Russia.

Moving to the household of the flamboyant Duke of Buckingham, Tradescant witnesses at first hand the growing division between Parliament and the people, and the most loyal of servants must find a way to become an independent squire.

©2018 Philippa Gregory (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"When it comes to writers of historical fiction, Philippa Gregory is in the very top league." (Daily Mail)

"A hugely enjoyable and unexpectedly moving book." (Daily Telegraph)

"Vivid and enthralling good gripping stuff." (Sunday Times)

What listeners say about Earthly Joys

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

An engrossing start which sadly got monotonous

I didn’t finish this book, sadly.
I was drawn in by this historic gardener and his stoic loyalty for his first lord Cecil, but this became severely misplaced with his next great lord. But more than this, the endless discussions on similar topics began to sound like pontification in the last three hours. Enough, I said!
I loved to learn about his journeys, his deep love and experimentation in gardening and the exotic plants he brought back to England, and was looking forward to hearing about his son going to America in the sequel ‘Virgin Earth’...but now I’m not so sure...

5 people found this helpful

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Interesting piece of history

Good story in an interesting part of history l knew very little about. Much too long though..? Would have preferred an abridged version with less of the boring domestic conversations and pious
ruminations that seem to go on for an eternity in some places. Nearly gave up in the first half, but persevered, and pace moved on a bit in the second. Glad l stuck with it though.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

loved this book

i did not want this story to end. and tne narraor was brilliant too. Looking forward to the next in the series

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful. As good as her usual high standard.

she makes you love all the characters and love gardening. great read. I would highly recommend

5 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable mix of fact and fiction

This is a new author for me. I was attracted by the subject ,as a keen gardener, to learn more about the life of the famous horticulturist Tradescant the Elder, It's a fascinating story and surprising. I hadn't realized that not only was he a talented garden designer, seeker and breeder of new plants from around the world, but also a soldier commandeered by the Duke of Buckingham to take part in one of the Dukes' reckless military campaigns. The Duke not only employed Tradescant as a gardener but as a general factotum to obey his every wish. I suppose the speculative scenes of homosexual activity between the two are included to spice up the story but I believe there is no historical basis for this other than the devotion of Tradescant to the Duke. Tradescant's life appears to have been dominated by an excessive devotion to his masters to the exclusion of all others, including his family. The wealth and profligacy of the aristocracy and particularly Charles the First and his Queen is sickening seen against the suffering of the ordinary people. It's just surprising it took the populace to so long to get ride of the parasites and even more of a pity that they were re-instated to continue milking the system. I am yet again surprised that the author, a professional historian, should repeatedly refer to the King of 'England' when the crowns were joined in 1603.
All in all this is an absorbing and interesting novel made all the better by the superb dramatization by David Rintoul.

1 person found this helpful

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Not up to usual standard

The subject matter was not great and was not enhanced by the narrator who sounded like a news reader. Sorry.

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Engaged me in parts but overall glad to finish it and move on

Not sure why but I didn’t enjoy this as much as other books by the author. A bit rambling - more a love story with gardening thrown.

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Gardeners Paradise


Any gardener would love this book and the history is fascinating as well, a real insight into what life was like for people in the past.

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Relaxing read.. Loved it.

Escape into another time. Full of atmosphere and character. Sorry to finish this book but glad there are more in the series. About to start the next one... VIRGIN EARTH.