The story moves to France for the duration of the French Revolution, a bloody and terrible time in France’s history. We became acquainted with Henri in the last book, a hopeless womanizer who at last meets the love of his life but lost her before her realized it. His daughter, Heloise is the subject of the book and we follow her from bright happy childhood, to an unhappy marriage to a man who is all for Napoleon’s dynastic schemes. Heloise continues to be an important figure in future books, and she is one of those whose life is fun to follow.
In England, the focus shifts from the matriarch of Morland Place, Jemima, and following the theme of these books, begins to explore the personalities of her children, the future main protagonists. Of particular interest is Lucy, a tomboy to heart who according to history, not entirely improbably, disguises herself as a boy and runs away to sea.
This particular volume was filled with the particular charm that comes and goes according to character, yet wading through the French Revolution was at times tiring, as the author involves many real-life characters and situations through conversation and that can get old; especially if like I, you are reading for the character interaction not the historical context. I know, for me that is shocking- but Harrod-Eagles would not be my first choice for historical fiction although I enjoy my greater understanding of events in Britain’s past through her books, it simply isn’t what her specialty is.
Come for the characters, give or take the historical action, and stay for the story. I’m keeping these short because it would be exhausting to really try to convey the huge amount of time and events Harrod-Eagles is capable of covering in one novel! Also I must admit, I’m on book 20 :/