Skip to main content

Review: The Mirage, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles


Pages: 500

Original date of publication: 1999

My edition: 2009 (Sphere)

Why I decided to read: I’m reading through the Morland Dynasty series

How I acquired my copy: Amazon UK, July 2010

#22: Covers 1870-1874

The Mirage continues the story of the Morland family, but it focuses on the next generation. Benedict Morland dies of a fever in Egypt, and his son, George, remains at Morland Place to carry on the family name. He marries Alfreda Turlingham, an older woman with skeletons in her closet and a profligate brother. George’s sister, Henrietta is rushed into a marriage with a much older man; and Charlotte’s daughter Venetia begins her quest to become a doctor, despite the fact that all of society is opposed to it.

This is another very strong installment to the series, although the history of the era takes a backseat to what’s going on within the family circle. There’s the usual quota of shady characters in this book (what Morland Dynasty book would be complete without one?), but I found Venetia’s story much more gripping. What’s wonderful about this series is how Cynthia Harrod-Eagles manages to interweave the history of the period with the stories of the family, creating compelling, interesting characters as she does so. Venetia is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters of the series, especially of this generation.

Comments

Teresa said…
Venetia is one of my favorite characters, too. And the series has slowed down enough that she may very well be around to the end of it.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

Review: Midnight in Peking, by Paul French

Pages: 259 Original date of publication: 2013 My copy: 2013 (Penguin) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Phoenix bookstore, May 2013
In January 1937, the body of a young British girl, Pamela Werner, was found near Peking’s Fox Tower. Although two detectives, one British and the other Chinese, spent months on the case, the case was never solved completely, and the case was forgotten in the wake of the invasion of the Japanese. Frustrated, Pamela’s father, a former diplomat, tried to solve the crime. His investigation took him into the underbelly of Peking society and uncovered a secret that was worse than anything he could have imagined.
At first, I thought that this would be a pretty straightforward retelling of a true crime, but what Paul French (who spent seven years researching the story) reveals in this book is much more than that. Foreign society in Peking in the 1930s was stratified, with the British colonials at the top and the White Russian refugees at the bottom, but…