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The Abyss by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
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In The Abyss, the struggle between Nicholas and Benedict Morland really takes center stage. Benedict still lives in exile, working on the railways, while his brother, Nicholas, lives a life of decadence at Morland Place, surrounded by a cast of unsavory servants. The jealousy Nicholas feels towards his younger brother is mirrored in the larger struggle going on in England—between those who support the railways and those who do not.

As you might guess from the book’s description, this installment in the series focuses on the rivalry between Nicholas and Benedict. There tends to be a bit black-and-white feel to their relationship; one of them is completely bad while the other is completely good. Still, you keep hoping that Nicholas will change his ways, even though you know his jealously is so deeply-seated that he won’t. And it’s amazing how deep that jealousy runs; Nicholas has even begun to believe all the lies he’s been telling about his brother for all these years. It even seems that the only reason why he opposes the railways is to get back at his brother.

I enjoyed reading about how the railways came about, but I did think the novel could have focused on some of the other members of the family, too. Instead, it’s as though the author totally forgot about them in order to focus on the Benedict and Nicholas storyline. Also, I think that a better way could have been found to resolve the conflict. Still, it’ll be interesting to witness the fallout from the brothers’ rivalry in the next book in the series. ( )
2 vote Kasthu | Oct 30, 2010 |
This was a great addition to the Morland series. I’ve found the series to be at its best when it focuses on one or two historical events or family dramas, and this book dwells entirely on the two remaining sons: Nicholas and Benedict.

In Nicholas, we have a Gothic anti-hero whose wicked tendencies are putting him in the power of an even more wicked man. Benedict’s story is rather more complicated. He’s depicted throughout as the good son, but he makes some choices about his romantic involvements early on that made it impossible for me to be totally on his side. I'm interested to see what direction things take in the next book!

See my complete review at Shelf Love. ( )
  teresakayep | May 15, 2010 |
This episode was darker than any other Morland Dynasty book so far. Some very Gothic happenings. Can't wait for the next one! ( )
  birdsam0307 | Oct 5, 2008 |
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May, 1833
The private parlour at Markby's Hotel in York was up a steep and narrow flight of stairs, and Martha Moon had not been designed by Providence for climbing.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0751517453, Paperback)

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 1833, and the industrial age is sweeping through England and the Stephensons are planning the greatest engineering scheme ever undertaken—a railway line from Liverpool to London. At Morland Place, Nicholas had hoped that his brother Benedict had been banished for ever. But railway fever brings Benedict back to York as an engineer on the Leeds & Selby line.  When plans are formed to bring the railway to York, Nicholas not only fears his brother may steal his inheritance, but that the iron horse will destroy the very Morland lands. The conflict between the brothers mirrors the nation’s battle between old and new.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:05 -0400)

Nicholas Morland, at last the proud owner of Morland Place, wants only a wife to perfect his happiness. His banished brother Benedict, a railway engineer, returns to the neighbourhood and falls in with George Hudson's plan to bring the railway to York - a plan which is anathema to Nicholas.… (more)

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