Misc. Historical Fiction. · Sagas · Sequels

The Outcast (#21) by Cynthia Harrod Eagles

“You won’t go away?….You won’t leave me?” 

This book interweaves the Morlands in America and the Morlands in England during the years 1859-1864, during the American Civil War. At last, the American arm of the Morlands gets to breathe and is to the fore as the Old South falls.

The two branches of the family are tackled during this era. Neither one is more written about than the other, and they are set nicely at a parallel, without being neglected for the usual plot and character developments.

This book has all the drama and passion of previous entries to the saga. I couldn’t connect very well with the American Morlands due to them being absent from previous books but all the same the stark gender roles were well written. Men were superior to the women, and the women were supposed to be meek and dependent, without an opinion of their own. Or so it would seem.

The bloodshed of the war is described vividly and has certainly encouraged me to read up more about the historical background. In this series, there is always to be the typical female Morland who is forced to be a strong woman due to circumstance. The central woman, Mary Morland, is forced to grow up through the duration of the story and confront her childhood romantic ideals of the man she married. I didn’t really feel any emotional connection for her relationship with her husband’s brother and the book slammed to a close as if in an effort to tie up all the individual character arcs as soon as possible.

During the last few pages the progression of time was a bit hazy and so when faced with the inevitable dramatic death it didn’t really hit me as hard because the particular character hadn’t really had much chance to develop, anyway. The ending itself also seemed like something from a melodrama, as well.

So…

This is one of those books which is not bad enough to be on a specific list but yet I did not completely adore it. The difference between the pre-war South and the South in the thick of war and desperation was very stark and again well written but I don’t think its good enough to completely raise this book in my estimations. The book also didn’t really do anything too daring with its plot but its to be expected in a book which is part of a saga spanning seemingly innumerate books

MY RATING: *** / *****

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