Amazingly, my local library had this book, and what a fascinating read it was! If you like gardens and the intrigues they "cause" in the lives of Elizabeth I and her courtiers (Robert Dudley and William Cecil), you will like this book. Dudley and Cecil try to out do each other in their gardens, attempting to gain favor with the queen.
Trea Martyn’s bewitching and original “Queen Elizabeth in the Garden” offers a new spin on the familiar subject of the royal progress by concentrating on the rivalry between two of Elizabeth’s most powerful courtiers. Robert Dudley, the dashing Earl of Leicester, entertained the queen at Kenilworth Castle in 1575, offering her a pageant that was acclaimed as a wonder of the age. And William Cecil, Baron Burghley, the older and cleverer of the two men, on whom Elizabeth relied for sound political advice, created at Theobalds Palace a garden of such exceptional beauty that her successor, James I, forced the Cecil family to trade their estate to him in exchange (not the harshest of fates) for ownership of the royal manor at Hatfield.
Today, Martyn tells us, not a single authentic Elizabethan garden survives — all the more reason to welcome a book that uses a wealth of evocative detail to recreate this lost world of bright bowers and labyrinths, of paths of sand so glittering and carefully raked that passers-by sometimes mistook them for gold.
Recommended for delightful summer reading in your own garden.