Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: The Founding

My Synopsis:

The Founding (Moreland Dynasty series - Book 1) by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

(For review from Sourcebooks)

15th century women were often betrothed from childhood or to men they hardly knew. Eleanor Courteney was no different when she was sent to marry a sheep-farmer from the North. Marriages were not based on love but on family alliances and what the new wife would be able to bring to the marriage. Eleanor marry's Robert Moreland, a commoner when her heart truly lies with Richard, the Duke of York.

Eleanor and Robert begin to build a dynasty as they fall into a kind of companionable partnership. Eleanor holds on to her love for the duke and even as her family expands she holds true to her allegiance. With the War of Roses as a backdrop, Moreland family faces many struggles of their own involving betrayal, disease, honor and even death. Will Eleanor be able to lead her family through this chaotic time period? Will her love for the Duke of York, blind her to devotion and love of her husband? Who will be heir to the Moreland dynasty? Who will be chosen the rightful King of England?

My Thoughts:

The Moreland Dynasty series covers expansive periods of history in over 30 volumes. It is one of the largest series I have personally ever heard of and I was really interested to see what made it so popular. The first book in the series, The Founding is over 500 pages and some might consider it a difficult read. However, I think this gave the author the ability to really define the characters of the book. It was very sweeping type of saga, similar to the expanse of a book like The Thornbirds. We are able to see the history as well as the family develop throughout several generations. Eleanor was a very strong woman who didn't always make the right decisions but yet she stood by those decisions and made the best of what happened. She may have seemed heartless at times, but based on the time period she was probably just very tied to the old ways and ran her family accordingly.

Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genre's and I felt that this book really epitomized my feelings about the genre. It is more than just a book set in a particular time period. These characters are a part of that time period. They are moving through it as history moves around them and that in my opinion is what makes Historical Fiction great. The author could just basically give bits and pieces of the history of the 15th century and then go on to tell the story and just leave the reader to take what they can from what they know of that time period, but in The Founding, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles makes the time period almost a character in the story. It was very prominent and very well researched. I loved the book and can't wait to see how the Moreland's fair during the Tudor period.

This one definitely gets 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag. Any reader who enjoy historical fiction or the time period of The War of the Roses will truly enjoy this book.

Here is a little more about the author, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.

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.

The Founding is available now from your favorite bookseller.


Mystica said...

Thank you for highlighting this book which sounds very good.

Shy said...

I haven't read historical novels for quite awhile now mainly because I don't know which series I should start reading next. Perhaps I should give this great book a try, eh? 5 apples, that sure tells a lot!

throuthehaze said...

Wow...500 pages? Sounds pretty good but I don't know if I could last that long lol

Hannah Marie said...

Thanks for the review and for linking it up with the others in the series. I'm a read-the-series-in-order, so i really appreciate it. The series sounds great, and the fact that there are so many sounds exciting. I won't be short of books to read in this century.