The Foreign Field
This is the 31st installment in Harrod-Eagles’ Morland Dynasty series, which traces 500 years of British history from the point of view of the fictional Morland family. The series starts in 1434 with the War of the Roses and will finish with WWII. The Foreign Field covers the third year of World War I, 1917.
Members of the Morland family are in various places during the war, providing different perspectives on the war’s course and its impact on people’s lives. Some of the Morlands are at home at Morland Place in Yorkshire, where the patriarch, Teddy, has turned most of his land over to growing vegetables and hosting the local battalion. Other family members are in London; some are fighting in France; one is serving in the Royal Flying Corps and another in the Royal Army Medical Corps; one is nursing in London and then France; and one is stationed in Russia as a military attaché. All these different vantage points make for a complete picture of the war and times.
Harrod-Eagles captures the mood of the period and incorporates events that were happening at the same time as the war, including the women’s suffrage movement. I don’t usually understand or enjoy military strategy and battle descriptions, but she does a masterful job with them, writing with both clarity and conciseness. Remarkably, with all this history, the book is also an absorbing family drama with well-drawn characters.
Harrod-Eagles is a skillful writer, and this is a highly readable, fabulously entertaining way to absorb British history. Do not miss this series. It will keep even the most voracious reader entertained for a long time!