Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review: The Dark Rose

The Dark Rose (Moreland Dynasty - Book 2) by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

(For review from Sourcebooks)


This, the second book in the Morland Dynasty series begins in 1501 around the time that King Henry VII dies and ends during King Edward VI's reign or actually the Regency's reign. Interspersed with the history of the Tudors is the fictional family the Morlands. It is a story of continuing court intrique, treachery, love and hate during a time in history where a person could be charged with treason just by saying the wrong thing or following the 'wrong' religion. Most everyone knows the story of Henry VIII so I will not go into detail. It is a story about the Catholics and the Protestants and the struggle that ensues. The first third of the book surrounds the life of Paul Morland, great grandson of Eleanor Morland. It tells of the marriages and births and deaths within the family. There was a lot of intermarrying within the cousins. This was a very common practice at that time to keep the bloodlines pure and to keep lands and other holdings within a family. There were also illegitimate children born of the Morland family who had no claims to the dynasty. The second part of the book is about the character of Nanette who goes to court and becomes first a friend of, then maid-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn. Nanette forsakes her own happiness for her service to Queen Anne. Nan spends time between the court and her home at Morland. The last part of the book goes into more of Nanette and the other members of the Morland family, the next generations if you will.


The Moreland dynasty is an epic series that spans many generations of English History. Book 2, The Dark Rose, focuses on one of my favorite time periods, the reign of the Tudors. The Story of King Henry VIII has always fascinated me. This book goes into great detail of what might have happened behind the scenes and what historical characters like Ann Boleyn and the King himself may have been feeling. The story of the Moreland family is woven into this setting when your religious affiliation could be your undoing.

Paul Moreland is now head of the Moreland family and he is most concerned with making sure he has an heir to succeed him as head of the family. His relationship with his wife, Anne is less than wonderful and he has come to truly despise her, even though she provided him with the necessary heir, in Amyas, Paul's son. He father's an illegitimate child with his mistress and is in turmoil of what to do for his love child. I really felt sorry for Paul in some ways, he was put in a difficult situation. During that time wives and husbands were chosen by your family not because of love, but because of what the match would offer the family and Paul's character really suffered from this practice. It seems that his affection is always misplaced and he forever choses women he cannot have. We see Paul grow as a character and try to fix his mistakes. Providing for his brother Jack's children, and making sure that his son Adrian is taken care of. I liked Paul he was a brooder, which always makes for an interesting character.

A good deal of the book is given to Nanette, who is Paul's niece. Nanette goes to court and eventually becomes one of Queen Anne Boleyn's attendants. She gives up much of her life to be with Anne and to help her as she becomes Queen. She is there when Elizabeth is born and see's many things change within the court. Nanette's character is one of dark beauty. She is a beautiful woman who is well educated and becomes one of the court's favorites. But she has secrets of her own that keep her from her home at Moreland Place. Nan reminds me of a young girl who has a hard time suppressing her own desires and conforming them to what is expected of her.

The Dark Rose is available now from your favorite bookseller.

This is a great book. I can't wait to read book 3! I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag.


Mystica said...

This book sounds so very good. Thanks for the review.

Llehn said...

I saw The Other Boyelyn Girl and loved it so I'm already partially invested in this book.