Friday 3 August 2018


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 . . .

There was something about this blurb that grabbed my attention as soon as I read it. So when Hachette Australia sent me a copy, I got started right away.

Elizabeth lives in Cornwall with her botanist father. Like him, she's very interested in plants and spends a lot of her time drawing and painting them. So when on his deathbed, her father leaves her with a secret mission to locate a botanical wonder, she promises to fulfill it.

To do that, Elizabeth will travel to South America and encounter some of the happiest times of her life. As well as the most dangerous.

Anna recently inherited her grandmother's house, and while renovations are being done the workmen discover a box and sketchbook hidden behind a bookshelf. When she starts delving into the contents, she finds herself enthralled, and wants to solve the mystery of why and who these items belonged to.

To do that, Anna will travel to England and will encounter a lot more than she bargained for...

This is such a great book! As soon as I started, both Anna's and Elizabeth's voices hooked me in. And when I realised they were each headed into their own personal quests, I couldn't stop reading.

Told in the alternating POVs of Elizabeth and Anna, their stories weave around each other perfectly. They might be completely different women living during completely different times, but their sense of adventure is the same.

Elizabeth wants to desperately fulfill the promise she made to her dying father, and goes to great lengths to do it. She's strong, determined, and I loved how she found so many unexpected things during her travels.

Anna is a very lonely woman. She has a gardening business and keeps busy, but a dark event from her past keeps her from pursuing happiness. She's loyal, hardworking and doesn't give herself the chance she deserves. Until a family mystery takes over her every waking moment.

These two characters and stories complement each other in a way that made it very hard to put the book down.

I also really enjoyed how nicely the plant descriptions and botanical terms are naturally written into the narrative. The details help bring an already interesting book to life and enhance the many lush settings.

The Botanist's Daughter is an intriguing story about the strength of women who, for their own reasons, are willing to travel halfway across the world and end up with the same goal. It's also a family mystery that slowly reveals its secrets, just like a blooming flower.

I found myself totally immersed in everything that happened to these characters, and went through so many emotions.

This book was a delightful treat and has found a well-deserved spot on my Keeper Shelf.

The Botanist's Daughter, August 2018, ISBN 9780733639388, Hachette Australia

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