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Monday, September 12, 2011

Review - Cynthia Harrod Eagles - THE HIDDEN SHORE

This is a fairytale told in a historical setting. It is a Cinderella story brought to real life and one that you will not know is happening till it actually happens. Reading the book we think that Charlotte is doomed. Living with a cranky, disabled father who does not show any love or affection Charlotte is confined to her house with strict instructions not to talk to neighbours or to have any social contact with anyone. Charlotte comes across at this stage as being very naive mainly because she is so over protected.

With her father's death and absolute poverty staring her in the face Charlotte discovers her true identity going through her father's papers. Charlotte is a very wealthy woman and a Countess in her own right and also part of the huge Morland clan. Going to London to meet her mother and extended family Charlotte is thrown into a world of aristocracy and high living far beyond her understanding and for a world which she feels that she is far removed from. Although she enjoys the balls and pleasure that this immense fortune brings her, Charlotte feels that she ought to do something more with her life and moves on to the rookeries and the slums of London hoping to do something which will benefit Londoners.

Flouting convention and only able to do this because of her position and wealth Charlotte pursues her work of helping the poor much to the disgust of several members of her family. Fast forward to Charlotte almost getting married and then being forced to accept that she is being married only for her money and position - she does the unthinkable and gives up on the very handsome Fleetwood. At the same time we have the story of Fanny - also very rich, pretty and looking for love and failing miserably.

The stories of Fanny and Charlotte separate and intertwined are the focus of this book. Both are not the average girl of the times - in different ways both are courageous and different. It would not have been easy to be different during this period of time - where convention and submitting to the norm was of paramount importance. The fact that Charlotte specially was able to do what she did was most commendable.

As usual a very good book and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

4 comments:

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

These are the kind of historical fiction novels I enjoy most - stories of women ahead of their time, especially one like Charlotte who is determined to help those less fortunate. Thanks for the review!

fiction-books said...

Hi Mystica,

Great review.

I have read some of this authors work before, but not for some time.

I noticed that this book is the 19th in the Morland series and wondered if it works well as a stand alone story, or if you have read it as part of the series?

Perhaps that is why I did not carry on reading Cynthia's books, I honestly can't remember now

RAnn said...

Looks like a good one. Thanks for the review.

Amused said...

I have the first book in the series and I think they all sound fab! Can't wait to get to reading these!