Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Founding By Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

The Founding 

About the Book:
The first book in the epic bestselling Morland Dynasty series which spans from the Wars of the Roses to Queen Victoria's long reign, where war and famine, peace and plenty, love and loyalty, greed and envy spread the lines of the family throughout the country—into the courts of kings and the salons of the Regency, onto the battlefields of Culloden and the Crimea and beyond.

In The Founding, 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 not only appalled at being forced to marry a mere "sheep farmer," but is secretly in love with Richard, Duke of York. Yet, in time, this apparently ill-matched union becomes both passionate and tender, the foundation of the Morland Dynasty, and sustains them through bloody civil war which so often divides families, sets neighbor against neighbor, and brings tragedy close to home.

About the Author:
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles was born in Shepherd’s Bush in London. She was educated at Burlington School, a girls' charity school founded in 1699, and at the University of Edinburgh and University College London, where she studied English, history and philosophy.

She wrote her first novel while at university and in 1972 won the Young Writers' Award with THE WAITING GAME.

Afterwards she had a variety of jobs in the commercial world, beginning as sales manager for the Coca Cola Company in Edinburgh, and ending up as pensions officer for the BBC in London, while writing during the evenings and weekends. 

The birth of the MORLAND DYNASTY series enabled her to become a full-time writer in 1979. The series was originally intended to comprise twelve volumes, but it has proved so popular that it has now been extended to thirty-four.

In 1993 she won the RNA Novel of the Year Award with EMILY, the third volume of her Kirov Saga, a trilogy set in nineteenth century Russia, and she also writes the internationally acclaimed BILL SLIDER MYSTERIES.

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles still lives in London, has a husband and three children, and apart from writing her passions are music (she plays in several amateur orchestras) horses, wine, architecture and the English countryside.

My Review:
It's not often I get to start a series with the first book. So I was thrilled to receive The Founding by Cynthia Harrod Eagles to review. This book begins the epic Morland Dynasty Series. For readers who enjoy an ongoing family saga, you'll want to pick up this book. It's a very satisfying read and will be a great addition to your Historical shelf. 

Eleanor Courteney is a character I thoroughly admired for her courage and sensible approach to whatever life put before her. But, to be truthful, I also wanted to strangle her at times. And at one particular point in the book, I wanted to slap her silly. She's one of those characters that, no matter how good or bad she is, you have to keep reading to see what outrageous decision she'll make next.

Of course, in a book of 539 pages, there are loads of other characters to keep you turning pages. The author blends these characters into a fifteenth century English tapestry and weaves in the historical threads by placing them in royal households, influential families, and important battles of the time. 

Be prepared to keep up with a lot of characters and to step forward in time quite quickly. While I don't think these elements detract from the book, they may be confusing to some readers.

Description and dialog are well done and add another enjoyable dimension.

A complimentary review copy of this book was provided by Sourcebooks, Inc.

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