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The Emperor by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
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#11: Covers 1795-1802; rise of Napoleon

Napoleon is on the rise, yes, but the Emperor in this case could easily be the Emperor butterfly which briefly makes an appearance. Jemima Morland’s children are all grown up, and making their own decisions—and mistakes. Both Lucy and James carry on affairs and create scandals, and Mary joins her husband on board his ship, where she gives birth during the battle of the Nile.

The more I read this series, the more character development I find is occurring. Jemima’s not one of my favorite Morland heroines, and her children makes some questionable judgment sometimes, but the characters in this part of the series feel a lot more fleshed out and real to me, more believable, probably because of their flaws. After all, everybody makes mistakes, and everybody (I would hope) learns from those mistakes.

In the previous installment of the series, I believe I mentioned how sometimes in the Morland Dynasty series a character will come in and declaim about the current political/religious/etc. situation. Because some of the characters are literally at the forefront of what’s going on, the reader literally gets a front-row seat to those events. This is another reason why I prefer this installment to the series to some of the others. ( )
  Kasthu | Dec 18, 2009 |
I just knew when James married Mary Ann on the rebound there would be trouble! ( )
  alisonb60 | Nov 6, 2009 |
The Emperor begins in 1795 and covers the early years of Napoleon's rule in Europe. For the most part, the Morlands are not directly involved with the events that made the history books during that time. Instead, domestic concerns take center stage, as the children of Jemima Morland, current head of the family, adjust to marriage, parenthood, and adult life in general.

Most of Jemima's children seem doomed to be unlucky in love. They either form unfortunate attachments to people they can never be with, or they make marriages based on convenience and never find love there. Even the one happy marriage among the children is fraught with heartache because the husband must be at sea most of the time.

As the series goes on, the characters are becoming more well-rounded. The plot continues to be on the soapy side, with many babies of suspicious paternity, but it's not always clear what the characters will ultimately decide to do, and that makes for enjoyable reading. And Harrod-Eagles continues to write romances in which "true love" does not necessarily lead to lifelong bliss or give one licence to break commitments. But she also depicts these sometimes unfortunate love affairs with a sympathetic eye and an understanding that it's hard to resist what the heart wants.

The historical thread that interested me most, and that I hope Harrod-Eagles develops further, has to do with the rise of the factory system. The Morlands clash over what it means to have a responsibility to take care of the poor and what kinds of conditions they must be obligated to provide. There are some intriguing tensions there, and I'll be interested to see how it develops.

See my complete review at my blog. ( )
1 vote teresakayep | Aug 29, 2009 |
This current lot of Morlands have to be the most scandalous yet...can't wait to see what else they get up to! ( )
1 vote birdsam0307 | Mar 15, 2008 |
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To my mother
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One day in March, 1795, Hawkins, the butler at Chelmsford House in Pall Mall, paused on his way through the great hall to speak to Bunn, the porter.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The eighteenth century was drawing to a close in a welter of military, political and social conflict. The French Revolution had put old values, traditional verities to the test, a test many were to fail. To the elderly, it was a world gone mad, in which morality was crumbling, the structure of society at risk. To the young, bewildered by the pace of change, it was a time of dangerous opportunities, of a desperate grasping for happiness.

For the Morland family, too, it is a period of internal conflict. To Jemima, drawing rather wearily to the end of her days, her turbulent brood are almost incomprehensible. A staunch Catholic, the grieving survivor of a divinely happy marriage, she finds herself mourning lost values and certainties cast in doubt. James' marriage to Mary Ann almost falls apart: he leaves her for Héloïse, but returns remorseful, unaware that Héloïse is pregnant. Lucy's mariage de convenance to Chetwyn is in the balance - her affair with the dashing naval lieutenant Weston is an open scandal, and to Weston she bears the son Chetwyn could not sire, but must acknowledge as his heir. Mary bears a daughter on board her husband's ship during the Battle of the Nile - and dies of a lingering infection. William supports a mistress whose marriage cannot be dissolved...

Jemima's death, perhaps for her a merciful release, unites the family. at least on the surface. but the passing of Morland Place to a new generation can only be seen as the end of an era, and the future holds as much peril as hope.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0751506486, 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 1705, and the shadow of Napoleon is falling across Europe, and a restlessness seems to be changing mores and loosening society’s restraints. At Morland Place, James’ marriage to Mary Ann is falling apart; Lucy’s to Chetwyn is in the balance as she embarks on a blatant affair with a sea officer; and William supports a mistress he cannot marry. Mary goes to sea with her husband Captain Haworth and is caught up in the battle of the Nile; and as war becomes inevitable, Lucy knows she must say goodbye to her love as every fighting captain waits eagerly for his commission.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The 18th century is drawing to a close and the French Revolution has put old values to the test. For the Morland family, it is a period of conflict. Jemima's death unites the family, at least on the surface, but the future holds as much peril as hope.… (more)

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