ABOUT THE BOOK
Discovery. Desire. Deception. A wondrously imagined tale of two female botanists, separated by more than a century, in a race to discover a life-saving flower . . .
In Victorian England, headstrong adventuress Elizabeth takes up her late father’s quest for a rare, miraculous plant. She faces a perilous sea voyage, unforeseen dangers and treachery that threatens her entire family.
In present-day Australia, Anna finds a mysterious metal box containing a sketchbook of dazzling watercolours, a photograph inscribed ‘Spring 1886’ and a small bag of seeds. It sets her on a path far from her safe, carefully ordered life, and on a journey that will force her to face her own demons.
In this spellbinding botanical odyssey of discovery, desire and deception, Kayte Nunn has so exquisitely researched nineteenth-century Cornwall and Chile you can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers, the touch of the flora on your fingertips . . .
Published by Hachette
Bert’s Books £8.99
An historical, dual time-line story about gardening and romance?! Yes please!! And I loved every minute of it and has made me want to set off on my own plant hunting adventures – but maybe with less danger involved!!
In the present timeline, Anna is a gardener who is currently overseeing the renovation of her beloved grandmothers’s house that she has been left, and when the builder start knocking walls down they uncover a box hidden in the walls. Anna and her family know nothing about this box and when she discovers what is inside she is intrigued to discover more.
Back in 1886, Elizabeth Trebithick is living at Trebithick Hall with her beloved father and sister. She has inherited her fathers’ need for exploring – he’s a plant hunter and is often away -and she wishes she could escape too. He shares his dreams with her of plants he aims to find and makes her promise him that she’ll carry on his work for him. She’s not one to be stopped and kept at home, as was expected of women back then, so she soon sets off with her maid to the other side of the world to hunt out a very rare and dangerous plant. Being seasick isn’t the best start for her journey though!
The 2 timelines work brilliantly with one another – as Anna delves further into the origin of the paintings she finds, along with reading the diary that was also hidden away she is drawn into the need to explore and finds herself travelling to Cornwall to see what more she can find out about this family she knows little about.
And as Elizabeth settles into her new life, her head is soon turned by a local guide who seems to share her interest and passion for plants, but with a rival plant hunter also on the scene, she is unsure whether she can trust her guide with the real reason she is out there, other than painting the different plants she sees.
I loved the characters in both timelines of this book – both women weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and do whatever became necessary to achieve their tasks! Be it uncovering a rare plant, or putting the pieces together in a mystery puzzle and discovering who hid the box in a wall and why. It really gave a great insight into just how precarious plant hunting was, but so rewarding when a new plant was found, or local knowledge helped you learn something new about a plant.
Really enjoyable and easy to read and I’ll definitely be reading more from this author in the future!