And so we come to the end. For three years, I’ve been reading a volume in the Morland Dynasty series almost every month, and now I finish the series with the newly released final volume, The Winding Road. This book follows the fate of the Morland family through the latter half of the 1920s—the Jazz Age. There are parties galore and riches to be won and, eventually, lost. There are romances that begin with promise and become more complicated. There are reunions happy and sad, technological advances and lost traditions. In short, it’s a typical Morland Dynasty book and a suitable end to the series with enough material left for Cynthia Harrod-Eagles to continue the series should the opportunity arise.
As a typical Morland book, The Winding Road contains a lot of what I enjoy about this series and a few of the things that annoy me. There are lots of wonderful period details, as always, and Harrod-Eagles skillfully weaves together the stories of characters from different walks of life. We follow the New York Morlands, one of whom becomes closely connected with Herbert Hoover and dreams of being in the White House someday. In London, one of the most well-connected branches of the family suffers personal and financial setbacks that change the family’s status completely. An in-law to the family joins the publishing world as a newspaper copy writer with dreams of writing a detective novel. The advances in radio, film, television, and aviation all touch the more enterprising members of the family. For me, one of the more interesting sections dealt with the 1926 general strike, an event I had never heard of.
As for what I didn’t like, there was yet another convenient death of a spouse and romantic obstacle, although this one does not clear the way for the great destined romance of the remaining spouse’s dreams, so it didn’t aggravate me as much as the dual convenient deaths that helped Bertie and Jessie to get together. As much as I like seeing characters in this series find their great loves, I’d like it better if they didn’t step over other people’s bodies to get there quite so often. I also wouldn’t argue with keeping a few more couples apart, as that happens often enough in life.
Now that I’m done, I know I’ll miss reading about the Morlands’ exploits. As I’ve said in many a review, these are fun, reliably entertaining reads that provide a window into history as it was experienced by the people who lived it, both near the seats of power and at a distance. I can’t help but think this series, with its long-time loyal fans, might be a good candidate for an ebook series, perhaps with a print-on-demand option. I’d love to see how the family weathers the Great Depression and World War II.