The Black Pearl (Morland Dynasty #5)

blackpearlContinuing my plan to read one book each month from Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’s Morland Dynasty series, this month I read The Black Pearl, which opens shortly before Charles II is restored to the throne and closes with the 1666 Great Fire of London. So far, I’ve enjoyed the series immensely, not because they’re great literature, but because they’re just great fun. The first and fourth books are probably my favorites, but I’ve liked them all, and this book continues the trend.

The main character in the book is Annunciata Morland, the illegitimate daughter of Ruth. Much is made of Annunciata’s beauty and spirit, and she knows it. She’s probably the first of the Morland heroines that I took an outright dislike to, but as the story went on, she grew on me.  I was never entirely won over, but I still came around to thinking she was at least fun to read about. Much of the book follows Annunciata’s time in the court of Charles II, where she falls in and out of love and learns that passion does not always equal lasting love.

For me, the more intriguing characters were those who stayed behind at Morland Place, and I would have liked more of them. Catherine was a particular favorite of mine. She makes some difficult decisions that the rest of her family doesn’t understand, and she accepts the consequences.

As I mentioned above, the book opens shortly before the Restoration of the Monarchy, and the previous book, The Oak Apple, closed right about the time the monarchy was defeated. I thought Harrod-Eagles missed a great opportunity by skipping Cromwell’s Protectorate. Because many of the Morlands are Catholic, this would have been a difficult period for them, and it would have been interesting to see how they coped during that time. We do learn a bit about it, but only by way of background. I understand that Harrod-Eagles can’t cover everything, but this period seems like one that could have been particularly fraught with peril, and I was sorry to see it passed over. Oh well, I’m sure there will be more drama to come, and I’m looking forward to getting more glimpses of British history through the eyes of the Morlands.

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5 Responses to The Black Pearl (Morland Dynasty #5)

  1. Danielle says:

    This is the book I have waiting for me to read. I like your idea of reading one a month and I should try and do that as well as they really are quick reads once you get into them! Anunciata has not been my favorite character either, though maybe she’ll grow on me more in this book! You make me want to go and pull it out and start reading now!:)

  2. Teresa says:

    Danielle: I decided to read one a month partly to keep myself from reading nothing but the Morland books because I do get obsessive when I start a series. If we’re at about the same place, maybe we should start a group on LibraryThing to discuss them. I believe Katherine at A Girl Walks into a Bookstore is at about the same place. (I don’t think she’s reading them in order.)

  3. I love the Morland Dynasty and have Book 24 on its way to me as I speak so you can look forward to another couple of years reading! I keep saying I will go back to the beginning and start all over again and perhaps one day I will, when I have time….

    I think the historical research is spot on and I have so enjoyed this series. When I discovered them I read the first 15 in about four months and then came blinking into the light, I do tend to binge read so you are probably wise to limit to one a month

  4. Teresa says:

    Elaine: Yeah, I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t put a limit on myself, I’d get totally obsessed and the series would actually start to lose its appeal, just as too many cookies still taste good but make me feel a little sick after a while. So far, the only quibble I’ve had with her research is her depiction of Puritans in book 4. I’m no expert, but it seemed to rely more on modern stereotypes about Puritanism than actual Puritan ideas at the time.

  5. Michele says:

    I’ve read the entire series (finishing 30 and waiting for my local public library to get 31 in). I’ve read nothing but the Morland Dynasty series since May of 2008. Bittersweet that after the next book I will have to read something else. Will miss the Morlands and family when I pick up my first non-Morland book.

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