Monday, March 8, 2010
The Founding - Book 1 in the Morland Dynasty by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
"Against the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses, an epic saga unfolds of passion, hatred, conflict, and fierce desires. The Founding of the Morland Dynasty..." (from the publisher)
Curiosity about this mega-historical fiction series prompted me to explore book #1 of the Morland Dynasty, a series which recently has reached thirty-two volumes in total. While it's doubtful that I will ever complete all thirty plus volumes, (you can put money on it that I won't--I'm such a slow reader!), it is a worthwhile series for those with an interest in English history and family sagas.
The first book establishes the Morland family as wealthy Yorkshire sheep farmers and landowners in the fifteenth century. Edward Morland arranges a marriage for his son, Robert, with the proud and haughty Eleanor Courteney; while she has no dowry to bring to the marriage, she has royal connections which, together with her husband's wealth, brings power and prestige to the Morland family. Robert quickly comes to adore his wife, and she takes on her role as a dutiful but dispassionate wife; she secretly loves another man.
Births and deaths, politics and battles, secret loves and family angst, the Morland family has its share of prosperity and tragedy...over several generations and the period of the Wars of the Roses, Eleanor emerges as the family matriarch who, over the course of her life, staunchly supports the Yorks and suffers the loss of many family members to that cause.
While there was a nice balance of period history and family storyline, I found the most interesting aspect of the book was the way the author brought the fifteenth century to life with details of everyday living; fashions, food, marriages, the mindset of people during this time in history...it was all very well done and well researched.
For a complete listing of the series and information on the Morland Dynasty, click here.
Title: The Founding
Author: Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
genre: historical fiction