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Review: The Poison Tree, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Pages: 438

Original date of publication: 1994

My edition: 2006 (Sphere)

Why I decided to read: I’m in the process of reading through the Morland Dynasty series in order

How I acquired my copy:, January 2010

#17: 1831-33; covers reform and the reign of William IV

This installment of the series focuses on the period just after the post-war depression, taking its reader into the reign of William IV and the Reform movement. Jasper Hobsbawm is a supporter of the movement in Manchester, but his involvement leads to danger, both for him and Sophie. At Morland Place, Heloise is still grieving over the death of James, while her eldest son Nicholas forces his brother Benedict to find a job with the railway pioneers.

This is another really great addition to the Morland Dynasty series, with some excellent character development. Nicholas is of course the villain of the piece, but he’s not a stock character; and Benedict, while technically the “good” guy, isn’t completely perfect, which I really like about him. I kept wanting Heloise to finally see the truth about Nicholas, though; and I wanted Benedict to grow a backbone and call Nicholas out. Maybe he’ll get his chance in future books in the series? But it’s that side of Nicholas’s character that he keeps hidden that keeps things interesting.

As with the other books in the series, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’s historical research is excellent. She really makes you root for the characters (seeing as how many of them appear in multiple books). I was a little disappointed, however, that rosamond took a backseat in this novel. I’m told that the next book in the series, The Abyss, deals primarily with Nicholas and Benedict’s story, so I’ll be fascinated to see how things turn out.


I am currently about to start the third book in this extensive series. I have enjoyed it so far :) Hope the next one meets your expectations!

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