Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory
John Tradescant the Younger is gardener to the King, Charles I just like
his father before him. But this is a time of unrest and the king is
battling the rebels. John does not know where his sentiments lie, with
his country or his king. So he takes off for the New World, Jamestown
to avoid the issues. He leaves behind his children.
first journey he collects plants and is introduced to Suckahanna, a
Powhatan Indian whom he falls in love with. He returns to England to
find his father dead and a woman dedicated to his children. John is torn
but marries Hestor. Soon however he is wanting to return to Virginia.
He returns hopefully to build a plantation and live with Suckahanna. He
ends up living with the Indians.
This story like the Civil War
bounces between England and Virginia as John is torn. At the center core
is his gardening but he just can not make up his mind where his
loyalities should lie: with king or country, with Hestor or Suckahanna.
I enjoyed the story and never knew that England was without the monarchy for such a length of time.
First Line: "He woke to the sound of the moving ship, the creaking of timbers and the aching sigh of the full sails spread, the sudden abrupt rattle of a pulley as a sail was reefed in, the drumming of booted feet on the deck above his face, the holler of an order, and the continual attack of the sea - the bang of the waves against the prow and the groan of the tiny ship as she climbed up one wave and then wallowed and turned to confront another."