I am delighted to share my review today for The Plant Hunter by Thomas Mogford. This is a fabulous adventure style story that is a mix of historical fiction and a journey of discovery. I adored it so much.
My Huge thanks to Maddie at Welbeck Publishing Group for my gorgeous advanced copy of this book – I love it 🙂
1867. King’s Road, Chelsea, is a sea of plant nurseries, catering to the Victorian obsession with rare and exotic flora. But each of the glossy emporiums is fuelled by the dangerous world of the plant hunters – daring adventurers sent into uncharted lands in search of untold wonders to grace England’s finest gardens.
Harry Compton is as far from a plant hunter as one could imagine – a salesman plucked from the obscurity of the nursery growing fields to become ‘the face that sold a thousand plants’.
But one small act of kindness sees him inherit a precious gift – a specimen of a fabled tree last heard of in The Travels of Marco Polo, and a map.
Seizing his chance for fame and fortune, Harry sets out to make his mark. But where there is wealth there is corruption, and soon Harry is fleeing England, rounding the Cape of Good Hope and sailing up the Yangtze alongside a young widow – both in pursuit of the plant that could transform both their lives forever.
I am a huge fan of plants and books. Every room in our house has at least one of each in them, so when I saw this book I knew it was one that I needed to read. (The photo above is a few plants in my bedroom 🙂 )
This is what the title suggests it is, about a Plant Hunter. However, the particular plant hunter in this novel is one Mr Compton, a salesman in a nursery in London. He has worked for Piggott for a while, although being a salesman is not what he wants. He would rather be behind the scenes propagating, tending, and general growing the plants that will then go on for sale.
A chance encounter with a drunk leaves him with an option or two. He is in possession of a map showing the location of a rare and exquisite tree. It is 1867, plant collectors and hunters of exotic flora is a very lucrative business, ideal for those who have backers.
So, begins the travels of Mr Compton. From salesman in London to plant hunter embarking around the world on an adventure of a lifetime.
This is just a fabulous book and one that lived up to my hopes. It is a mix of several genres, there is some mystery, adventure, suspense, romance, crime, murder, history and nature so I do think it would appeal to a vast array of readers.
The author has a great balance in this story so that the plants don’t take over the story and are mixed in with Compton’s own experiences and expectations. He meets some fascinating people on his travels and becomes more worldly-wise at the same time.
I really like the way the author wove everything together as the journey embarks Britain and the sailing to China. It all helps to toughen up Compton, and believe me it is needed for what he has to meet. Not everyone is dangerous, but there are some individuals that you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of.
This is a wonderful mix of historical content and also attitudes around China and opium in the mid to late 1800s. It allows the reader to see differing viewpoints as foreigners in the country are not always welcomed. What can be a well-meaning gesture can actually be seen as something else. I did like this as it showed various sides to social, political and economics at the time. Enough to give a general idea but not too much to distract.
This is a wonderful book and it is a fabulous read. I liked the style, the pace and the storyline. A must-read for fans of historical fiction with an exciting adventurous storyline. It is one I would absolutely recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx