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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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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...

7 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.

4 people found this helpful

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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

4 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.

3 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

6 people found this helpful

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Beautiful historic garden references and a rambling rose of a story

Certainly not fast-paced, but a beautifully rich story that has nowhere to be any time soon. Loved the luxury of it and learned a little around the history of gardening too.

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storyline a little fanciful but we'll put together

a little unbelievable in places but succinct. Performer only seems to have 2 character voices but it's easy enough to follow

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History with a difference.

I enjoyed this audio book. Interesting story if you’re interested in plants and history of the 17th century. A little different from Philippa Gregory’s usual novels. Looking forward to listening to the next one. I thought the narrator read it well. Not sure I would have stuck with it if I had actually been reading it as it went into a lot of detail but would definitely recommend it as an audio book.

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esrthly joys

lovely story loved it sort of story i would listen to once again. well done to Phillipa Gregory

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Couldn't finish

Struggled to finish. Lacking excitement and at times quite depressing. Historically accurate no doubt , i couldn't understand the dedication to Buckingham as character lacked depth in this depiction. Disappointing
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