Thursday, March 24, 2011
Review - The Chevalier by Cynthia Harrod - Eagles
Starting in 1689 and covering a tempestuous period upto 1718 the story covers the Morland dynasty from another perspective. The thread that runs through the entire series is the Morland dynasty it is true, but each book seems to take one character of the period who is the most important one for that era and then has all the others like little suns around her/him and these flesh out the main story.
Beginning from Annunciata Morland all the other characters have their own beautiful stories which form part of The Chevalier. The Stuart cause closest to Annunciata's heart forces her into exile for fourteen long years. The next generation led by Matt a gentle, quiet boy who marries the vivacious, greedy and vicious India leads to the birth of six sons and a disastrous end for India who by her death destroys Matt and his ability to be the head of the clan.
The story continues following James III and his disastrous rout from England. It shows the extent to which loyalty to one's king has been followed to the death for many, to loss of family and home for so many others. It is a concept difficult to follow at times - where choice between one's spouse/children is put aside as loyalty to your King is paramount. Tough choices and this is beautifully shown in this part of the story.
People who read this blog are going to get historical fiction in a big dose as I have almost the entire series of this story. What sets it apart is that although you do know you are reading about a particular family, the stories so far also stand alone so that you are not feeling lost whilst reading it for the first time. The family tree both for the clan as well as for the House of Stuart also help greatly to keep track of events and people.