Henry Whittaker was a self made man, a man who exacted a great deal of thought from those around him, quick of mind and eager to seize any money making enterprise centering on botany and the medicinal uses of said plants. His only daughter is Ada, equipped with an exacting nature and brilliant mind herself, she finds a virtual playground of plant and animal life on the family estate in which to learn and thus becomes a scientist in her own measure.
This story is Ada's, although their are other interesting characters in the background, the story belongs to her. Therefore, in order to embrace this story one must embrace the multi-layered character of Ava. Maybe it was because I have been sick this past week, but I was in the mood for a family generational novel, and found this book both interesting and comforting. I loved her story, found it full of quirks and follies, loved her mind and the way it worked and loved watching her figure things out.
It helps if the reader likes botany, history and introspective novels. All of these are part of this novel, the slow moving moss, the less than welcome reception Captain Cook received from the natives (gulp) and so much more. As much as I disliked Eat, Pray, Love, I surprisingly like this novel. She can write, she can research and in this novel that shows.