Sequel to the outstanding historical novel Earthly Joys, and written by the bestselling Philippa Gregory, the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin’s Lover.
John Tradescant the Younger has inherited his father’s unique collection of plants along with his unerring ability to nurture them. But as gardener to Charles I, he confronts an unbearable dilemma when England descends into Civil War. Fleeing from the chaos, John travels to the Royalist colony of Virginia in America. But the virgin land is not uninhabited. John’s plant hunting brings him to live with the native people, and he learns to love and respect their way of life just as it is threatened by the colonial settlers.
In the new world and the old, the established order is breaking down and every family has to find its own way of surviving. For the Tradescants, through the upheavals of the Commonwealth and the Restoration, this means consolidating their reputations as the greatest gardeners in the country.
Praise for Philippa Gregory:
‘Subtle and exciting.’ Daily Express
‘Written from instinct, not out of calculation, and it shows.’
Peter Ackroyd, The Times
‘For sheer pace and percussive drama it will take a lot of beating.’ Sunday Times
‘One of Gregory's great strengths as a novelist is her ability to take familiar historical figures and flesh them into living breathing human beings. The Constant Princess is a worthy successor to her previous novels about the Tudors.’ Daily Express
About the author
Philippa Gregory is an internationally renowned author of historical novels. She holds a PhD in eighteenth-century literature from the University of Edinburgh. Works that have been adapted for television include A Respectable Trade, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool. The Other Boleyn Girl became a major film, starring Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Eric Bana. Philippa Gregory lives in the North of England with her family.
In the stand-alone sequel to her Earthly Joys, Gregory follows royal gardener John Tradescant the Younger back and forth across the Atlantic between colonial Virginia and war-torn England. When John first travels to Virginia to collect exotic plants in 1638, his guide is a beautiful young Indian girl named Suckahanna. After transporting his specimens to England, he plans to return and marry her, but once at home, he learns that his father has died, leaving a letter suggesting that John marry the efficient Hester Pooks. Needing someone to care for his two children by a previous marriage, as well as for the Tradescant collection of rare objects and the Ark, the family's famous garden, John weds Hester. Meanwhile, the foolish, tyrannical King Charles I is dragging England into a civil war, and John, as a trusted servant, is pulled unwillingly into his service. To avoid having to fight for a cause he does not believe in, John returns to Virginia and Suckahanna, leaving Hester and his children back in England. In Virginia he tries to start a plantation, but having no idea how to live off the land, nears death before he is rescued by the Powhatan, Suckahanna's people. Once again John must choose sides in a war, this time between the Powhatan and the English. John is torn between them, just as he is torn between the two women in each of those separate realms. This hefty epic illuminates the conflicts of the 17th century with clear prose and a believable cast of characters, and will draw in casual readers and lovers of history alike.