The year is 1831. As England emerges from the post war depression, the country is changing, and the birth pains of the Reform Act bring it to the brink of revolution. The violent times breed violent acts, both outside and inside the Morland family. Sophie's life is shattered by a hideous crime. Rosamund learns that achieving her dreams brings as much pain as pleasure. Heloise, mourning her beloved James, let’s control of Morland Place fall into chaos. And amongst them all stalks the deadly, invisible threat of cholera.
This wonderful series opens with the back drop of the Wars of the Roses with the marriage between Eleanor Morland and a scion of the influential house of Beaufort. It is a union which establishes the powerful Morland dynasty and in the succeeding volumes of this rich tapestry of English life, we follow their fortunes through war and peace, political upheaval and social revolution, times of pestilence and periods of plenty, and through the vicissitudes which afflict every family - love and passion, envy and betrayal, birth and death, great fortune and miserable penury.
"So Entertaining and Interesting!"
The murder of any journalist is bound to whip the media into a frenzy. So when ex-BBC correspondent Ed Stonax is found dead, the last thing Detective Inspector Bill Slider needs to complicate his life is the reappearance of an old enemy issuing death threats. Trevor Bates, aka The Needle, is on the loose and trying to kill him. Along with that and a high-profile murder to solve, he must try to find a spare moment to marry Joanna before their baby is born.
"familiar faces, easy read"
David Rogers was a doctor, handsome, charming and rich. He lived the lifestyle of the consultant - expensive clothes, top restaurants, exclusive clubs - until someone killed him in the hallway of his lovely million-plus-pound house. Was he killed for passion, professional jealousy, or plain old money? Bill Slider and his firm are thrown into the mystery, but they soon discover that nothing is as it seems, for though David’s girlfriends are plenty, none of them can tell Slider anything about where he worked or exactly what it was he did.…
Bank Holiday Monday, and beautiful Zellah Wilding, straight-A student at St Margaret's, prefect and future Head Girl, lies dead near the famous Wormwood Scrubs prison in London. What was this good girl from a strict Christian family doing out there, dressed to kill, when she was supposed to be at a sleepover with school friends? A secret boyfriend from a run-down estate and a recently-released rapist look tasty; or could the nearby fairground or the eponymous prison have something to do with it?
"Good book, problematic narration"
1772: Although George III reigns over a peaceful England, his colonies in the Americas are claiming independence and a tide of revolutionary fervor is gripping France. Allen Morland and his beloved wife, Jemima, work unstintingly to bring Morland Place back to its former glory. Their seven children often bring them heartache, but they are sustained by their love of each other.
A scorching August day, and a handsome young man is found dead in his bath. Suicide is not a detective inspector’s business, but Bill Slider’s colleague takes one look at the body and calls in his boss: 'It don’t look right to me, guv.' Slider has to agree. There’s the method of death, a single slash to the jugular; men don’t usually cut. And his wallet and keys are missing. Either this was suicide with concealment in mind - or murder.
The rebellion of '45 and the bloody massacre at Culloden thrust Jemima into the spotlight as the savior of the Morland family. Independent, single-minded, and a rare beauty, Jemima is a capable caretaker of the Morland heritage. Although Morland Place and its lands suffer from the excesses of her dissolute husband, Jemima's quiet courage earns her an abiding love and loyalty.
A middle-aged man jumps under a tube train at Shepherd's Bush station, and a teenage girl is killed in a hit-and-run in a country lane puzzlingly far from her home on the White City Estate: two unrelated incidents which occupy DCI Bill Slider and his team during a slack period. At least it's a change of speed after the grind of domestics, burglaries and Community Liaison. But links to a cold case - another dead teenager, pulled out of the River Thames - create doubts as to whether they are indeed unrelated.
It is 1558: Elizabeth I is on the throne, though still challenged by Mary, and her Protestant faith threatens the Catholic Morland family.The reign of Elizabeth I means that the Morlands must seek new spheres of influence to restore their fortunes. John, heir to Morland Place, rides north to wed the daughter of Black Will Percy, the Borders cattle lord, and learns that the way to win her heart is through blood and battle.
In 1914, Britain faces a new kind of war. For Edward and Beatrice Hunter, their children, servants and neighbours, life will never be the same again. For David, the eldest, war means a chance to do something noble; but enlisting will break his mother's heart. His sister Diana, nineteen and beautiful, longs for marriage. She has her heart set on Charles Wroughton, son of Earl Wroughton, but Charles will never be allowed to marry a banker's daughter.
"Prissy and Slow In One Grand Sweeping Motion"
The bloody revolution in France causes upheaval in the Morland family. Henri-Marie Fitzjames Stuart, bastard offshoot of the Morland family, strives to protect his daughter, Heloise; his mistress, Marie-France; and their son, Morland. To this end, he binds Heloise to a loveless marriage with a Revolutionary, and allies himself with the great Danton.
But in the bloodbath of the guillotine and the fall of Danton, Henri-Marie loses his head and Heloise flees to England.
The year is 1915, and the war is raging on.... The war was not 'over by Christmas' after all, and as 1915 begins, the Hunters begin to settle into wartime life. Diana, the eldest Hunter daughter, sees her fiance off to the front but doesn't expect such coldness from her future mother-in-law. David's battalion is almost ready to be sent to the front, but how will Beattie's fragile peace of mind endure?
1659: Cromwell's protectorate is drawing to a close, and the restoration of the monarchy can only improve the fortunes of the Morland family. The years of civil war and their aftermath have left Morland Place in dire straits, but with the return of the King, Ralph Morland believes he can rebuild the family estates. For his beautiful and ambitious cousin, Annunciata, the Restoration means a journey to London - one that leads to the amours and intriges of Charles's court and to the unlocking of her mysterious past.
1670: King Charles II's reign has brought peace and prosperity to the Morland family, but James II's ascent to the throne will shatter their restored fortunes. In Yorkshire, Morland Place has flourished during the Restoration, and in London the beautiful and sprited Annunciata, is now Countess of Chelmsford, a wealthy and well-connected woman, intimate with the Royal Family. But storm clouds gather over them all when the reign of James II brings rebellion and discord.
1689: The Restoration enabled the Morland family to restore their own fortune, but now the Jacobite Rebellion brings another threat to their security. Annuciata Morland, fiercely loyal to the Stuart cause, follows her beloved king, James II, into exile. She leaves her gentle grandson, Matt, to oversee Morland Place in her absence. Without her wise presence, Matt finds himself in an arranged marriage to India Neville and at the mercy of a woman as heartless as she is beautiful.
1501: the turbulence of Henry VIII's reign brings passion and pain to the Morlands as they achieve ever greater wealth and prestige.Paul, great-grandson of Elanor Morland, has inherited the Morland estates, and his own Amyas is set to be his heir. But Paul fathers a beloved illegitimate son, and bitter jealousy causes a destructive rift between the two half-brothers which will lead to death.
1630: after long years of peace the reign of Charles I brings brutal civil war to England. The clash between King and Parliament is echoed at Morland Place when Richard brings home a Puritan bride while his brother, Kit, joins Prince Rupert and the Royalist cavalry, leaving their father Edmund desperately trying to steer a middle course between the fighting factions. As the war grinds on, bitterness and disillusion replace the early fervour, and the schisms between husband and wife, father and son, grow deeper.
"History Made Clear For Me"
The year is 1820. The landscape of England is undergoing sweeping change as the country pioneers the steam-driven machine age. The Morlands, too, face change: Cousin Africa returns from St Helena to startle society with her unconventional ideas, and Lucy brings her sons home from their Grand Tour, brimming with ideas for their future. In Manchester, Sophie and Jasper meet fierce opposition to their plans for re-housing the factory hands, while in London, Rosamund enters a bizarre agreement.
Antiques expert Rowland Egerton, the darling of daytime TV, has been stabbed to death in his luxurious West London home. The press are going to be all over this one like a nasty rash: the pressure's on Slider for a result, and soon. Egerton's partner, the bulky, granite-faced John Lavender, found the body; did he also do the deed? Or was it a burglary gone wrong? A missing Faberge box and Impressionist painting point that way. But as Slider and his team investigate, none of the facts seem to fit.
"Terry Wale is an awful narrator"