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The Physic Garden Kindle Edition
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More About the Author
I have more than 100 plays for radio, television and the stage to my name and still write the occasional stage play. I love the whole process of rehearsal and production.
But I love writing novels even more.
I live and work in rural Scotland, in a 200 year old stone-built cottage, which also happens to be a listed building. I write almost every day, but also spend part of each week dealing in antique textiles (which often find their way into my fiction!) I'm married to an artist and our grown up son designs video games and apps for a living - we're quite a creative family.
It would be nice to have 25 plus hours in a day, but I'll make do with what I've got. And I'm very happy indeed to talk about all aspects of my writing, from embroidery to Scottish history and historical research, from Ice Hockey to the idea of the 'grown up love story'. I'm also delighted to read at events of all kinds.
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Top Customer Reviews
The description of the book says it all about why that is. The pivotal tragedy is so poignant, so personal, and yet so loaded with significance for our lives today that it is almost too much for this reader to bear. The novel is set in Scotland, at the turn of the 18-19th century. Its setting is the old college of Glasgow University and the Physic Garden, where William Lang, the narrator, is learning the craft of gardening from his father and the discipline of medical botany from his mentor, Thomas Brown. These two strike up a rare friendship, until betrayal tears it apart and changes the lives of them both for ever.
This novel is about such important things - research and curiosity and learning about the world. It is about a particular time and place - Scotland in the Enlightenment - when human knowledge was advancing so quickly, a time and place that fascinate me for all sorts of personal reasons. The discipline that engages both Thomas and William is that of medicine, and the passion to understand the working of the human body in order to bring about health and combat disease. There is a softer side to this discipline - that of botany and the understanding of medicinal herbs and their uses, and that becomes William's forte; and the darker side, the study of anatomy, with all the implications of working with the body of someone who once was a living breathing human being.Read more ›
Half-way through and I am still captivated by the interesting detail, the characters and the hook – I want to know; what happened? I'm a city girl and really interested in how the writer has stuffed every crack in the floors with knowledge...things I want to know but have been too lazy to find out for myself, so far. When I'm reading I'm immediately immersed in these characters' lives, and it's so annoying when real life interferes and I have to stop.
Oooh, there's a fabulously disgusting passage 85% of the way through, describing some of the poorest places in Glasgow:
'...I found myself peering into rooms that never saw the light of day, stinking bug-ridden rooms and passages...in a drab and deadly succession, all leprous with damp, I thought that I had found myself in some hellish labyrinth, an underground warren where only troglodytes might live.'
...and, several hours later, I have finished reading a wonderful tale. I don't need to tell you what it's about – you can read that on the book blurb. This is not a genre story; anyone, with particular likes and dislikes would love it. It is set in the historical past but is fiction, and such an imagination has conjured up a place and a time that will leave you spellbound.
I also think the writer describes the miseries of trying to survive with little money and few opportunities in an historical context really well. The characters are well-drawn and I felt they were three-dimensional and their actions understandable. Whilst reading the book and on completion, the story and narrator's words lingered with me and I felt I had inhabited that world for a short time. This, to me, is the sign of a good book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the premise of this, ad it had the added bonus of being set in Glasgow University (my alma mater) so it was of personal interest. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Marguerite
Would have made an excellent short story but not a novel. Too slow and repetitive for my taste.Published 8 months ago by Rosebud
A most interesting story for someone like me, who has been interested in Herbs,
and grown them for years.
I was not sure at first, and to be honest I nearly gave up! But suddenly I got in to it, and then just had to see what happened, I loved the descriptions, it was unusual, and I... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Elizabeth Owens
Beautifully written as the main character remembers the story, sidetracking every now and then with new material so it is not a straight forward read. Read morePublished 8 months ago by C. Ryan