Back in 2009 I wrote the following:
I find this decision incredibly short sighted. Historical fiction always sells well - why is Jean Plaidy being reprinted? Why are Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory plastered all over Waterstones? No need to answer that one - because their publishers pay for this space that is why. There is very little publicity for the latest Morland novel as each is published and I think the publishers have lost sight of what a marvellous series they have in their keeping. My gut feeling is that Cynthia Harrod-Eagles has been with them a long time, she is reliable, she gives them a Morland book a year (plus the Bill Slider mysteries) so they take her for granted and perhaps don't think she is 'sexy' enough.
Why don't they do a push on these titles? Why don't they re-brand and re-market these marvellous books? Make sure they are all available and in print in paperback, promote them, publicise them all over again and I guarantee that sales will go up. I have followed the Morland Dynasty since book one and, apart from sharing in the joys and sorrows of the Morland family, the historical research is staggering and they are extremely well written too".
After writing this I was deluged with comments and to date have received over 200 and more come in weekly as people stumble across this post through a search engine. I have also received many emails and questions regarding this shortsighted attitude. I contacted Cynthia Harrod-Eagles shortly after writing this and was told that the publishers had back tracked somewhat (probably due to the onslaught of outraged readers) and she would be continuing but at that time, only up to title 34. Well, I have just finished reading The Phoenix, which is No 35 so I am hoping that they will continue. Have taken the liberty of contacting the author again for an update.
This latest title takes us up to the thirties and pre-World War II. Change is in the air, young women are now seeking jobs and not just sitting around waiting to find a husband. The story flits between Polly Morland, now back from the US and the owner of Morland Place, in Yorkshire to the London Morlands and their contacts with the society of the time. We are in Edward and Mrs Simpson territory here, an episode in British history which never loses its fascination for me, and ends with the projected return of Lennie from America where Rose Morland is now a major movie star and all is set for the next book.
Not only are these books a simply wonderful read and totally unputdownable (it is 11 am and I have only just got dressed as I wanted to finish this latest), but the research and historical background is impeccable. Quite honestly, if you want to learn all about British history from the Dark Ages to now I can only recommend that you start at the very beginning (A very good Place to start, apologies to Julie Andrews) and read them all in order. Check out the author's web site for information on this splendid series. If you manage to read one a month then you have three years of happy reading ahead of you. I know when I first discovered them, around book six, I then went to the library and cleared the shelves of all of them, put them in order and kept renewing them until I was up to date. Took me three months and from then on I have bought each book as it has appeared and read them all.
As well as the Morland Saga Cynthia Harrod-Eagles has also written stand alone books and a wonderful trilogy set in Russia, the Kirov Saga. Now out of print but available on ebooks. I have three battered second hand paperbacks of these three books and will not part with them for the world.
And then we come to Bill Slider. A witty, hilarious and deeply satisfying series of detective stories featuring Slider and his side kick, the elegant, urbane Atherton. Try as I might I simply cannot read them without seeing Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox as these two. I have been watching too much Lewis.
When finishing the latest Morland book I always feel bereft when I put it down. I want to know what happens next and cannot wait for the next to be published. If the publishers have any sense at all, and this is not guaranteed these days, they will never give up on this series until the author has written her last about this intriguing and special family.
If you have not read any by this author yet, then make 2014 the year you do so. You know it makes sense....