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The Botanist's Daughter Paperback – April 18, 2019
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that many of our common garden plants have come from that part of the world.
This story spans from Victorian England Cornwall when a young woman named Elizabeth daughter of botanist John Trebithick takes up where her father sadly couldn’t finish and that is searching for a very rare and dangerous plant in Chile, unknown for woman in this era to do so but stubborn Elizabeth with her maid Daisy, set off on a dangerous journey that will bring many changes to this gifted painter’s life, with danger and other people after the plant there is danger lurking close by and a secret to uncover.
Years on 2017 and Anna Jenkins who is a horticulturist, (this love of plants she got from her grandmother) is now renovating her beloved late grandmother’s home in Sydney when she discovers a gorgeous tin which has treasures packed inside, and here starts another journey but this time to discover the true owners of the paintings and the truth about the seeds that have been found. Anna uncovers a lot on her journey to Cornwall England more family and the truth about the journey to Australia by a woman and a child back in 1888.
This is a story that pulled me in from page one, the characters come to life on the pages, I loved Anna and Elizabeth and getting to know them was wonderful, the settings so very beautiful and the story threaded through two time lines had me devouring the words, and the flowers that are described had me thinking about my Nana’s garden with some of them, this the first of MS Nunn’s books I have read but it won’t be the last, this one ticks all of the boxes for a book that is engrossing and so very enjoyable and one that I highly recommend, fabulous story, truly don’t miss this one.
Top international reviews
Sadly I was wrong. As soon as I started it I knew I was in trouble. The thing I found most irritating was the dialogue which doesn't ring true; it is extremely forced and littered with "ye olde fashioned words" thesaurus finds. If you like books by authors (and popular ones at that so good on them!) like Danielle Steele you'll probably enjoy this - it has a beginning, middle and end, moves at pace and no thinking on the reader's part is required. I read it on a long flight in one sitting.
On the other hand, if you love books like Love is Blind by William Boyd (best book I read this year) you'll want to run a mile from The Botanist's Daughter.
We go back and forwards between Cornwall in 1880s and Sydney in 2017, with both characters young women who have suffered a recent loss.
Lizzie is charged with looking for a plant with wonderous and very dangerous qualities called the devils trumpet. I enjoyed the plot straight away, and couldn’t wait to continue reading, though I did find the middle of the book quite boring and a bit of a trudge to get through, felt like they were on that boat forever!
The blossoming relationship between Tomas and Lizzie is sweet and beguiling, the parallels between the two main characters was a nice touch though became a little predictable.
The twist at the end shocked me as I did not see it coming at all, I felt the mystery was intriguing, interesting and had a sweet ending!
I found the writing transported me to both worlds quite nicely, falling in love with each character as you go. I really enjoyed it!
'One is nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth'.
It was just amazing to read about the lengths plant hunters went to, and all the detailed drawings were made. Incredible that the information they gathered over a hundred years ago can still be used today to further science and medicine.
Was a little disappointed the heroine has to die; but it added drama and tension to the final story.
Love a good dual timeline story- and felt the balance was just right.
It should have been the perfect light read: Botanical art, Kew Gardens, Cornwall...
but it just fell flat. The characters were not developed and therefore I couldn't invest in them at all. They all seemed soppy and slightly annoying to be honest. There is no build-up whatsoever in the main romantic relationship. It is so neglected it 's actually amusing in a cringey way. The plot could have been so much more, but the whole book just felt rushed and half-baked.
I was also left with an uncomfortable overriding sense that this was a poor imitation of Kate Morton's 'The Forgotten Garden'. I couldn't shake the awareness that this was trying to emulate that book from the start. Sadly it only serves to highlight the failings of this attempt.
I have never given up on a book yet, but I am aware that I only stuck with this because we had gone into Coronavirus lockdown and time was not an issue.
One positive is the cover art. It's a very pretty book, but it's beauty is definitely only skin deep.
I won't give any spoilers other than to say that Elizabeth's story was wonderful yet sad.
Only criticism, the ending happened too fast. Is there to be a sequel ?
However it is an easy read! A great one to take to the beach no doubt.