Original date of publication: 2000
My edition: 2009 (Sphere)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: Amazon UK, May 2010
#23: Covers 1874-1885.
As the novel opens, Lady Venetia Fleetwood is engaged to be married; when she finds out that her future husband doesn’t support her ambitions to become a doctor, she breaks off the engagement. Her distant cousin George Morland and his social-climbing wife Alfreda had been invited to the wedding, but are bitterly disappointed when it is called off. In order to improve their social standing, George and Alfreda begin an ambitious project to “improve” and modernize Morland Place.
Although I enjoy this series in general, it’s been a while since I read the previous book in the series, so I had to go back to my notes and review them before I began reading The Cause. Still, I thought that this book was more of a filler for the series—the connection between the two branches of the family is too great. According to the family tree at the front of the book, though, Venetia and George are second cousins once removed. It would be nice if the series could focus just on one branch of the family at a time.
I enjoyed watching Venetia’s story play out further, and I also enjoyed watching how the medical profession became more open to women. But I lost interest in George and Alfreda; I think that both are stock characters seen frequently in the story of the Morland family. I realized as I read this installment in the series how accustomed to Morland Place I’ve become; as I read about the “improvements” to the family seat I kept thinking “no!”