Summary From Publishers WeeklySeventeenth-century England is the setting for this engaging historical novel based on the life of John Tradescant, a gardener of common birth who transforms plain plots of land into slices of heaven on earth. As vassal to the secretary of state, Sir Robert Cecil, Tradescant—who, as fate would have it, had no sense of smell—places his master's garden above all else, much to the chagrin of his wife, Elizabeth, and young son, J. Tradescant's affinity for botanicals is matched by his thirst for adventure; in the service of his lord, he travels to distant lands to defend his country's honor (and collect cuttings of rare and exotic plants). When Tradescant is summoned by King James I's closest confidante, the dark-haired and devious Duke of Buckingham, he is immediately taken by the nobleman's beauty. Devotion soon turns to erotic obsession, and Tradescant must face the consequences of loving a fickle, heartless man. Gregory (The Virgin's Lover; The Other Boleyn Girl) renders lush details of plants and clever commentary on the passions and power plays of the British royal court. I forgot just how much I love Philippa Gregory's books. When I was in college, I loved her; The Other Boleyn Girl got me hooked, and then I devoured her Wildacre Series (which was good, but may win the title of most depressing book, definitely a 'And Then Things Got Worse' type of book...), etc, but I hadn't picked anything up by her since then. I'm glad I did...I really liked this book. I love flowers, so I found the descriptions of the gardens and flowers really soothing and beautiful, and the first half of the book became my comforting, calming afternoon read. And then when John falls head over heels for the Duke of Buckingham, it picked up a lot. After that section ended, I still enjoyed it, although by the end of the book it did feel a bit long. 30 years is lot to cover in one book. Because of that, I'm not sure I'll read it again, at least not for a while. That said, I really liked this book.