08 January 2013
Virgin Earth, the free-standing sequel to Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory, tells the story of John's son, John. The two men have never seen eye-to-eye, especially in the turmoil of England, but they have been able to make it work because they need to, because they are both gardeners for the king. And so John the younger goes to Virginia (remember, this is pre-United States of America. This is early Jamestown days) to collect new plants and escape the pain of his wife's death. While there, he falls in love with his young Powhatan guide. But the story doesn't end there! John travels back to England, then back to Virginia, and back to England again. Similar to Earthly Joys, yet slightly more enjoyable, there are nice aspects to Virgin Earth. It's neat to learn about the way of the Powhatan and the changes England goes through prior to and during it's civil war. But it has the same problems as Earthly Joys, too. I didn't connect with this John, either. It was like Philippa was trying to cover too much ground and couldn't get into enough depth for me to enjoy it. I'm not sure that I recommend this book, but it really wasn't a terrible read. I just expect more from Ms Gregory and didn't love Virgin Earth.