Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Black Pearl by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

In the Morland Dynasty series, the majestic sweep of English history is richly and movingly portrayed through the fictional lives of the Morland family. It is 1659, and the bleak years of Cromwell’s Protectorate are drawing to a close. Civil war and its aftermath have left Morland Place in bad case, but with the return of the king, Ralph, the master, believes he can rebuild its fortunes.  For his beautiful and ambitious cousin Annunciata it means a journey to London where, embroiled in the amours and intrigues of Charles’ Court, she makes her fortune and at last unlocks the secret of her past.  A kinder age is dawning, but still uncertainty, conflict, and sorrow await both Ralph and Annunciata before they can find peace and forgiveness.

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles continues the story of the Morland family using English history has the background. This entry is volume number five and has the previous ones it has a female Morland as the main character. This time it is Annunciata Morland, Ruth's daughter.

Annunciata never met her father, in fact no one, except her mother, knows of her parentage. That, however, doesn't stop her from being a proud and arrogant young woman who loves to be the center of attention and to belittle her less fortunate cousins. My least favourite Morland heroine used to be Eleanor, in book one, but Annunciata just won the title.

As a young adult, she travels to the newly restored court of King Charles II where she is celebrated as a beauty, finds love, has children and  her heart is broken more than once. Part of the story follows Annunciata's adventures at court and her discovery of her true parentage, while another follows Ralph and the rest of family who now live in reduced circumstances. 

As in the previous books of this series, I think the author did a very good job with the historical background. The Morlands are fictional but it's very easy to imagine them has a real family. She even manages to create a tie with the royal family that doesn't sound too forced and definitely keeps things interesting. The same detail is applied to how people lived, loved, worked...

Annunciata doesn't have an easy life but in the end she finds happiness. That is more than what can be said of some of the other characters... Overall I think this is a fast read wich allows us to learn a bit about the Restoration period in England.

Grade: 4/5


  1. I have the first book in this series and I need to read it now!

  2. I have almost the entire series and have reviewed quite a few of them. I enjoyed the family saga through the generations - it is nice to see links, also the marriages within the clan were so numerous that it brought the whole family together.

  3. This is the next book in the series for me. I really must get to it. I have borrowed it from the library a number of times.

  4. I've read the first three books in the series, I need to get back into the series again!