John Tradescant the Younger found himself in Virginia. Son of the King's gardener, he was there by order of the Queen to find new and unique plants to bring back to the English palace gardens. Instead he found himself in an unforgiving land, where people were too busy surviving to appreciate anything of beauty let alone cultivate it. John soon finds that his journey and his life both in the new world and old fraught with difficulties, obstacles, war and loss. Torn between his loves, his principles and his service to the King, John discovers that people are more difficult to tend to compared to his beautiful blossoms and lush trees.
What I liked and disliked about this book
This sequel to Earthly Joys was as good as, if not better than the original. The language was fluid and painted a vivid picture of both the unforgiving new lands of Virginia and the hard English countryside in turmoil. This story managed to capture the entitlement felt by the early white settlers in their dealing with the land and also the natives who simply regarded as savages and treated like animals. Switching from Virginia to England every few chapters also made the book very interesting as the reader not only follows John's exploits but also that of the family he left behind. It also explores the concept of love and loyalty, and how circumstances can make the most principled of men to be torn with indecision. My only grouse is that in getting to the ending, which I thoroughly did not agree with, the book seemed to drag a little. However, this was probably due to the fact that the author wanted to stay true to the timeline of events that occurred in England at the time. It was also very interesting to learn the history of England during the reign of Charles I.
A quote I liked from the book
You would have to decide, without advice from me. I do not want a man with half a heart.