In John Dean’s letters to his friends in Scotland he tells about the turmoil that is taking place in Belfast during the time of the French Revolution. He neglects to mention that his wife Susan is falling in love with the leader of the revolutionary, Henry Joy McCracken. Even more dangerous, she falls under the spell of McCracken's sister's feminist ideas. Will John win back his wife's love? More
Letters from the Gardener takes place in the time that Dickens called the best and the worst of times. During the French Revolution, Belfast was awash with republican ideals. The Scotch-Irish Presbyterians allied with the Catholics to form the United Irishmen. Into this cauldron come John Dean, a Scottish gardener, and his wife Susan Kirk, a former English lady. John works for Henry Joy, the editor of the Belfast News-Letter, and writes letters to his friends with the news of the day in Ulster. His wife Susan meets Joy's nephew and namesake Henry Joy McCracken and his sister Mary Ann, and the lives of John, his wife and their children become entwined with the McCrackens. Susan falls in love with the handsome revolutionary McCracken and falls under the spell of Mary Ann's feminist ideas. The birth of twins and the growing unrest in Ireland after England declares war on France spur John to insist on emigration to the New World, but not before he confronts his wife's "lover" and learns the truth.
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on Dec. 23, 2012 :
This book was of particular interest following "The Serpentine Garden" and the fact that the stories are about the life of my mother's third great grandfather. As the author explains, she has given life to the genealogy she has accumulated of the Dean family and, in my opinion has made it very interesting reading. I have also obtained and read her two following books and appreciate them as well.