Seeking power and prestige, grim, ambitious Yorkshireman Edward Morland arranges a marriage between his meek son Robert and spirited Eleanor, young ward of the influential Beaufort family. Eleanor is appalled at being forced to marry a mere “sheep farmer”; she is, after all, secretly in love with Richard, Duke of York.
Yet from this apparently ill-matched union, Robert and Eleanor form a surprising connection that soon will be tested by a bloody civil war that divides families, sets neighbor against neighbor, and brings tragedy close to home.
Romantic Historical Fiction (Saga)
REVIEW RATING – 5 Stars
REVIEW by : Anita Davison
As an avid Cynthia Harrod-Eagles fan, when Sourcebooks announced they were re-releasing her ‘Dynasty’ series, I jumped at the chance begin again with ‘The Founding’.
During the Wars of the Roses. Eleanor Courtney is a companion to Belle, Lord Edmund Beaufort’s wife. Eleanor has developed an infatuation for Richard, Duke of York and carries a missal he gave her as a talisman. When Lord Edmund announces she is to be married to a wealthy Yorkshire farmer’s son, Eleanor is horrified, but cannot refuse.
She leaves beautiful Corfe Castle in the rolling green hills of Dorset, to the bleak and windswept Yorkshire moors and the functional, male-dominated Moreland farmhouse which offers no hospitality to the distressed young bride. Unfazed, Eleanor is determined to bring some feminine influence to her new home, despite an aggressive father-in-law who regards the only way to treat outspoken women is a regular beating.
Being poetic and not physically dominating, Robert Moreland is a disappointment to Eleanor, just as he is to his father, but Eleanor cannot help but be touched by his gift of a hound puppy, but inevitably, the Morlands are caught up in the War of the Roses, where Eleanor’s allegiance to the House of York and her husband’s to the Lancastrians, divide the family.
CHE was one of the authors who first inspired me to write historical fiction, and I was surprised to discover she employs a lot of head hopping, passive voice and author intrusion, which is no longer fashionable in modern writing. However, none of this spoiled the story for me in any way. In fact it’s probably only aspiring authors who might find the style distracting.
CHE has a lovely way with human emotion, and The Founding, a family saga in itself as it takes Eleanor’s children from birth to death, is a compelling introduction to the Moreland Dynasty. The book made me want to read the entire series again. I love the re-designed covers too and I eagerly await the next one!
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
I’m an historical fiction author, born in London, a city whose past I connected with at a young age. When the other kids on the school trip coach were throwing the contents of their lunch boxes at each other, I was staring out of the window at the ancient buildings, imagining men in wigs and heeled shoes coming out of coffee houses to climb into sedan chairs on the cobbles outside St Paul’s Cathedral. Weaned on Jean Plaidy, Anya Seton and Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, I have recently discovered Susanna Kearsley. Based in a magnificent part of the English countryside, I still need an occasional ‘London fix’ to top up my historical muse. Often asked why I write about the past, when there are so many details to get right, and even more ways to get it wrong – I always maintain that historical fiction chose me.