I don’t suppose many people have time to read (or indeed write) blog posts at this time of year but I committed to twenty four days of historical novelists and twenty four days thou shalt have. Today’s distraction was the ‘big’ birthday of my significant other. For the past month I have endeavoured to keep various secrets associated with the occasion. This has not been easy. You have no idea the difficulties I have had ensuring that the birthday boy was in the right place at the right time today and not dragging a boat up a slipway, or on his hands and knees cleaning a church. I had asked a few people back to my house to celebrate (or should that be commiserate) his great age. This required an unprecedented level of cleaning and tidying that immediately aroused suspicion. I have decided that I am really no good at subterfuge but the day seemed to pass off well.
Another great historical series for today’s novelist: the Morland saga by Cynthia Harrod Eagles. The thirty five books take this comfortably off family and their estate from The Founding in the time of the wars of the Roses to The Phoenix, which is set in the 1930s. Over the years, the family have links to succeeding generations of the royal family and we watch major events of British history unfold through the story of the Morland family. They become embroiled in the English Civil War, the Jacobite Rebellion, The Industrial Revolution, Suffragism, The First World War and many other key events. We follow one branch of the family to America, so the American Civil War also gets a look in. Family trees in the front of each book help the reader to keep track of the ever spreading clan. The number of characters is kept in check by unrealistically frequent marriages between cousins but I can forgive that. A little like Jean Plaidy, this series is a gentle way of familiarising yourself with historical chronology. Harrod Eagles has the advantage over Plaidy, in that she can work with fictional characters and is not constrained by writing solely about the lives of real people. Forget box-sets, give me a great historical saga any day. I am so glad that the original plan for twelve novels was expanded to thirty five. Harrod Eagles has now turned to writing mystery books but the original brief was to take the family to the Second World War, so we can hope there may be a few more still to come.