Not one of her best – Philippa Gregory – Earthly Joys


Dodgy cover

My friend read this and told me she loved it, I read it and really struggled with it.  I often find with Gregory that some of her books are great and some of the earlier ones less so,  such as The Queens Fool.   This novel is based upon the life of John Tradescant, the famous gardener to Robert Cecil, George Villiers the Duke of Buckingham and Charles I.


The Duke of Buckingham – don’t fancy him much

The general story is Tradescant is devoted to his masters at the expense of his wife and child, he goes on various trips to discover new plants or to fight the French, he plants gardens and that’s pretty much it.   The descriptions of the gardens and  flowers are lovely but the book is simply too long.  I also became frustrated with Tradescant’s unquestioning submission to his masters, I recognise that was the way of the world then, but this simply became boring.    I also found the gay relationship in the novel unconvincing and based on no historical facts whatsoever.  Tradescant’s adoration of the so-called beautiful  Buckingham (possibly both James I’s and Charles I’s  lover) was simply annoying.   The portrayal of Charles I makes you wonder why nobody cut his head off sooner, so maybe Gregory did this part well.

John Tradescant - not too tempted by him either.

John Tradescant – not too tempted by him either.

There seem to be lots of prudes (or bigots, I cant work out which) on goodreads who didn’t like it because of the gay sex scenes,  whereas I just didn’t like it because it was unconvincing and boring.  Oh dear, this is quite harsh isn’t it?




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2 responses to “Not one of her best – Philippa Gregory – Earthly Joys

  1. Pingback: The Favoured Child by Philippa Gregory | Blurb

  2. Anonymous

    I loved the above book and recently staying in London Lambeth area i happened to walk inthe churchyard of The Garden Museum and they were
    suggesting one can visit the Knott Garden and the tombs of the famous Tradescant family. Lambeth was well mentioned in the book Earthly Joys I
    intend to return to Lambeth

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