1815: Napoleon's escape from Elba and the preparations for battle entangle the Morland family in a web of romance and heartbreak.
The Allied Army is gathering in Flanders, and where the army is, the fashionable world must go- so London society hastens to Brussels to enjoy the most exhilarating Season ever. For Heloise it brings a renewed acquaintance with her former suitor, to Duc de Veslne-d'Estienne; while Rosamund must finally come to terms with her feelings for her cousin Marcus; and for Sophie, a meeting with an enigmatic French major could well alter her future.
But as romance flourishes in a warlike atmosphere, the looming shadow of battle only makes the dancers whirl more feverishly, and when the Army marches out to face the might of the French at Waterloo, one question is in every heart: which of them will not come back?
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#14: Spring-summer 1815; covers the Battle of WaterlooAs Napoleon¿s reign comes to its inevitable end and the allied troops converge for a last, decisive battle, the beau monde of English society gather in Brussels, essentially creating their own little society there, complete with cricket matches and balls and coming out parties. Lucy and Heloise, now respectable matrons, take Rosamund and Sophie there for their coming out, as James Morland (back in England) attempts to deal with the devastating loss of his daughter, Fanny. In Brussels, Rosamund deals with her feelings for Marcus, and Sophie falls in love with a French major. It seems that the only man not in uniform is Bobbie, Earl of Chelmsford.This is a very strong addition to the series, again, with some very strong characters and character development. The titles of the books in this series often have a double meaning; in this case, you could consider Rosamund and Sophie as kind of campaigners in the marriage market, even as Wellington and his men campaign against Napoleon. Although the outcome of the war is of course well known, I found myself invested enough in the characters to care about who survives this particular chapter of history¿or not. The novel features many returning characters, but introduces a nice collection of new ones that I hope to see in future installments of the series. Plus, there¿s that rivalry between Benedict and Nicholas, still children here, which threatens to blow into a full conflict later on¿The author¿s descriptions of the period are excellent, describing as they do the calm before the storm, so to speak: the day to day lives of people in English society, leading up to that famous ball on the eve of the battle of Waterloo, and through the battle itself. I¿ve said it before and I¿ll say it again: Harrod-Eagles is especially skilled at battle scenes. Once again the Morland family has a front-row seat to what¿s going on, and are indeed active participants. It¿s an interesting way to learn about history, especially since I don¿t know much about the 19th century pre-Victoria. Military history seems to be something that Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is passionately interested in, as seen in the descriptions of the battle at Quatre Bras and Waterloo.