Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: The Botanist's Daughter

Title:  The Botanist’s Daughter
Author: Kayte Nunn
Publisher: 31st July 2018 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 400 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction
My Rating: 5 cups

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 . . .
My Thoughts

The Botanist’s Daughter is a remarkable read that I thoroughly enjoyed. From beginning to end I was enthralled as this book ticked all the boxes in what I look for in a good, well rounded story. A well documented dual narrative (always tricky to pull off) that was so well executed with past and present stories sublimely linked, you will fall under its spell from the moment the box of treasures is discovered in the opening pages.

“... as Anna looked at it she had a sudden premonition, a feeling of apprehension. Exactly what had she discovered? What changes would this bring to her carefully ordered life?”

Chapters are presented from the alternating POV of our two female leads - two journeys, separated by time but bound together through adventuring into the unknown. They may have been different women from different centuries but both were most certainly on a journey of discovery. Elizabeth would travel from Cornwall, England to Valparaiso, Chile in an attempt to honour her father’s dying wish. Anna would travel from Sydney to Cornwall to find answers to her box of discoveries. Both women and their stories will engage you in their determination to overcome obstacles. The characters and indeed both tales, truly complement each other to provide a captivating tale (or two!) I humorously appreciated the ‘Australianisms’, they brought a smile to my face! With references from the ‘old dunny’ (toilet) to ....

“...skipping ahead of them over the cracks in the pavement, eager for the Redskins and Violet Crumbles that were stacked on the shop’s narrow shelves.”

For Kayte’s Nunn’s first attempt at historical fiction, she has done an amazing job. The secondary characters have depth, the plot never drags, the scenic descriptions - particularly of Chile - are vivid and the way all the puzzle pieces are finally brought together in the end is most satisfying. There is some romance in both timelines, but I appreciate how the author stayed true to the heart of the novel, that being, one of a family mystery.

I have no hesitation in highly recommending The Botanist’s Daughter to lovers of historical fiction, dual narratives and an enticing mystery (this has a real Kate Morton flavour). One would be hard pressed not to pick up this stunning book with a cover which in itself is so very inviting. From the locked box containing a diary detailing a long ago journey, to two strong and compelling females imbued with curiosity and courage to set out on journeys of discovery across the globe must surely intrigue the best of us.

“She was, of course, there to fulfil the promise she had made him, the promise that had kept her from collapsing with uncontrollable grief when he died, and had sustained her throughout the long and terrible voyage.”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

No comments:

Post a Comment