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Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Founding by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

The Founding (The Morland Dynasty)Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402238150
Pages: 560 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/England
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:
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.

My Review:
I have never read a historical fiction novel about this time period before. At least, I think I haven’t. They tend to meld after a while. I can’t help it. My mind is not what it once was. The Founding was, however, a nice distraction from all the romance and YA’s I have been reading lately.

I love historical fictions with lush historical detail. This one definitely was that. The detail was amazing. You really feel as if you are a part of the time period. Although, at times, the story seems a bit rushed. Especially in the first chapters. We never get any detail about Robert and Eleanor’s marriage in the early days before they had children. I wanted to see more their relationship and less of her popping out child after child. I was more interested in the development of the relationship than the expansion of the family.

The characters were really great although some of them really annoyed me. All of them were well-developed and interesting but some of them just made me want to throw the book across the room. Eleanor was one of the one who made me want to toss the book. She was borderline obnoxious. She was strident, controlling and manipulative. She was so obsessed with marrying off her children that she barely gave any attention to their happiness or their welfare. She was what Mrs. Bennet would have been with money, title and power.  Robert was a too much of a wuss for my tastes. I was waiting for him to grow a backbone for most of the book but he never did. He remained Eleanor’s stooge throughout all of it.  The only character I felt any sort of connection to was Job. He seemed like the only character with any sense yet he was also vulnerable to Eleanor.

Overall, this was a really good historical fiction. I loved the historic richness of it and all of the characters were really strong and vivid. If you like Susan Higginbotham, you will probably like The Founding as well.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

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