I went back to the Morland Dynasty after a long break and enjoyed both books I read so very, very much. I find that the story telling in these family sagas is intimate, very touching, and very real. The emotions are almost tangible from the heartbreak to the joys and the everyday way of life of the period is so well depicted.
The story beginning in 1857 has its backdrop the American Civil War. After many years of comparative quiet and a blissful married life, Benedict faces a figure from his past in the form of a twelve year old orphan who disrupts his household unimaginably. The disruption and disquiet are not just on the Morland side - our orphan Lennox is so depressed, so bullied and so "gentlemanly" about the whole saga that nothing ever gets out.
How Lennox is taken to join his sister Mary in the deep South of America, Benedict's stay there for one year and the events of the War are very detailed and gives one an indepth idea of how this war affected all Americans not just those from the South. My knowledge was zero on this subject and I never realized the divide between the North and South. Almost a them and us. The subject of slavery - so matter of fact in the South - so much part of life but the actual reality of slavery was not pleasant to read. Even in households like the Morlands (American branch) where treatment of slaves was not cruel or sadistic, there was much to be horrified about. Difficult to imagine that even during this part of the 19th century the idea of "slaves" was so widely accepted in the American South as being just part of their economy.
The effect of the war in the families surrounding Mary, the losses of both lives as well as livelihoods, their homes, the looting and pillage of all wars including this one was sad to read about. How they survived the war and try to rebuild their lives is the light at the end of the tunnel for me.
As usual I loved the book.