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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: The Princeling by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

The Princeling by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Historical fiction
Trade paperback, 448 pages
Book Source: Sourcebooks
My Rating: 90/100

From Goodreads:

Elizabeth I is on the throne and Protestantism is sweeping the land, threatening the position of the Catholic Morlands. John, the heir, rides north to the untamed Borderlands to wed the daughter of cattle lord Black Will Percy. But he finds he must first prove himself through blood and battle. John's gentle sister Lettice is given in marriage to the ruthless Scottish baron, Lord Robert Hamilton, and in the treacherous court of Mary, Queen of Scots, she learns the fierce lessons of survival. Through birth and death, love and hatred, the Morlands fight to maintain their place amongst England's aristocracy.

My Thoughts:

Ah, the continuing saga of the Morland family, where the women rule the men and the family is most successful for it. In this installment, we revisit Nan from Book 2, The Dark Rose. Back then, Nan was a Lady in Waiting to her dear friend Anne Boleyn. Now, Nan serves the woman she once held as a baby, Queen Elizabeth I. We only get small glimpses of the Tudor court, and equally small exchanges between the Queen and Nan. What is important, is hoe dear to the Queen Nan is. Elizabeth didn't have many close friends, and Nan is one of lucky few. The Queen adores Nan, therefore when Morlands adhere to their old Catholic faith, albeit secretly, the Queen looks the other way. As long as the Morlands are not openly brazen in their faith, they will escape sanctions. This is a testament to Nan, and truly marks her as the matriarch for the Morland dynasty during this period.

What I enjoyed the most about this book, besides the mostly strong female characters, was how the story checks in on each of the Morland family members. We may never get extensive character development, but to see how each person weathers their circumstances, and what happens to them in the end, is enough for me. There are way too many members of this family to have extensive character development, and I think the story threads that CHE writes about each member gives the reader e good glimpse of the people these Morlands turn out to be. It is difficult at times to keep names and relationships straight in one's head, but by checking the family tree, and going with the flow allowed me to enjoy the story.

I also enjoyed the various story threads with this generation: the branching out of the Morland dynasty's relations to the Borderlands, hence the title The Princeling; the adventurous travels of one member who joined Francis Drake on his travels (wonder if this comes up again in later books);  the marriages of the later generations and such.  I fancy this ongoing story about the Morland dynasty, because it is more about the family and their journeys through life, with the actual historical events in the background, not as the main focus.  Overall this book was an enjoyable read and much better than the last one.  I look forward to the next chapter in the Morland family history. 

For more information about this series or Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, please visit her website:

Thanks to Danielle from Sourcebooks for my ARC.
2010 Challenges Met: 100+,  Historical Fiction

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