From the publisher:
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.
Even though there were many characters, Harrod-Eagles gave them varied personalities that worked well throughout the story. I just wish there weren't so many characters with the same names. Sometimes it was hard to keep them all straight. The majority of them were well fleshed out and I was invested in the book enough to want to see what happened to them all. It was interesting to see through descriptions that took me back centuries to the mid 1400's and gave me a birds eye view of how people lived, worked and thought back then - makes me glad I didn't. Overall, I did enjoy this beautifully written fictionalized account of the Morland family. Would I read the other 33 books in the series? Probably not but I certainly would be inclined to read the next one. 4****
About the author: (from the back cover) Cynthia Harrod-Eagles was born in Shepherd's Bush in London. 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. Harrod-Eagles still lives in London and has a husband and three children, and apart from writing her passions are music, horses, wine, architecture, and the English countryside.
Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Sourcebooks, Inc. Thank you so much Danielle. The Sourcebooks link will take you to their page on The Founding where you can read an excerpt of the book.