Read The Founding by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Online


This wonderful series opens with the back drop of the Wars of the Roses with the marriage between Eleanor Morland and a scion of the influential house of Beaufort. It is a union which establishes the powerful Morland dynasty and in the succeeding volumes of this rich tapestry of English life, we follow their fortunes through war and peace, political upheaval and social revThis wonderful series opens with the back drop of the Wars of the Roses with the marriage between Eleanor Morland and a scion of the influential house of Beaufort. It is a union which establishes the powerful Morland dynasty and in the succeeding volumes of this rich tapestry of English life, we follow their fortunes through war and peace, political upheaval and social revolution, times of pestilence and periods of plenty, and through the vicissitudes which afflict every family - love and passion, envy and betrayal, birth and death, great fortune and miserable penury.The Morland Dynasty is entertainment of the most addictive kind....

Title : The Founding
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 19969575
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 515 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Founding Reviews

  • Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
    2019-05-07 20:53

    I swore I would not pick up this book to read,as there are just too many in the series(34 to date).What was the point when I would never be able to read them all? Yet..every time I was at the library, I would wander down the "H" section just to see if it was there.So I decided why not? Just the first one..probably wont like it..cant get into it..problem solved. Well if you think like I did you'd be missing out on one great read. This book has to have been the most enjoyable read Ive had in a long time, and even if I dont conquer all the others "The Founding" will be a keeper for me.The Founding begins with the marriage of the Heir Robert Morland, sheep farmer,to a dowry-poor ward Eleanor Courteney of influential Lord Edmund Beaufort.Seeking power Robert's father Edward Morland(a right crusty fellow)arranges the marriage between his second and only living son to spirited Eleanor who is appalled at being forced to marry a mere "sheep farmer". Eleanor has been seeing off and on a handsome young soldier..who just happens to be Richard Duke Of York. At first I didnt care for Eleanor, I found her ungrateful(she was after all dowerless) and was given to a wealthy young man and future.She was mean to Robert (who falls in love with her at first sight) while holding a torch for someone she can never have. She always seemed "snipy" but then if I was popping out babies every year I guess I would be too. But as the story unfolds and we get to know this couple and are drawn into their lives, Eleanor not only grew on me, but I came to respect this independent woman and shared her joys and her sorrows. I became totally intwined in this family and each member of it. And as the years spanned out I felt like I became part of it. Never once was I bored, because it moved at a pace that kept my interest.And what apparently was a ill-matched union, these two very different people formed a surprising connection and there was some very special moments in the story that brought a hanky out. But that same union will be tested by a bloody civil war, and divide them and also bring tragedy close to home.The history of the War of the Roses is not one I have read much about, so here I was afraid I would get lost and confused on what was going on, and "who was who".Yes there was a few times I had to flip back just to make sure I had the right person in place, but all in all what a great lesson for me of the history in this time period and the people involved.I found this story to be a perfect balance of history,family saga,romance, neither of these at anytime over-shadowed the other and kept me drawn into this story from beginning to end all ..539 pages!I highly recommend this book even if you never read any of the others..dont miss out on this one. Long after I closed the book these characters stayed with me,and I didnt want to say good-bye. Now...I wonder if The Dark Rose book 2 is in the "H" section..cant hurt just to look..

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-09 18:51

    From my blog...[return]The first in the Morland Dynasty Series, The Founding by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, is beautifully written with elaborate descriptions, and realistic characters making The Founding an intriguing novel to read, especially for those who are partial to historical fiction. The Founding takes place during the War of the Roses, which helps to explain the unusual match between Eleanor Courtney and Robert Morland. Unbeknownst to either Robert or Eleanor, living in different parts of England, their marriage was being arranged, which was not usual for this time period, to be true, however this most uneven match was a bit peculiar. Morland has a lot of land, sheep, and money, but no title or family save Robert, and Lord Edmund is in need of capital to fund the wars left over from Harry V's reign. Morland lacks family and wants his only son to become a gentleman. Lord Edmund needs the capital to continue to fund the wars. Robert and Eleanor are extreme polar opposites. Robert grew up as the only living son in a motherless house, being abused by his father and living in perpetual fear of him. Eleanor, an orphan, was raised as a ward of the Beauforts and taught in all manners of how to be a lady.[return]The marriage between Robert and Eleanor starts off poorly. He loves her dearly and at the same time fears her second only to his father. Eleanor is not at all pleased with her new life and is grateful she was able to bring three servants with her. They all live together in Micklelith House and in short order Eleanor is running the house and the operations of the farm with the help of the three servants who traveled with her. Jacques immediately took to task the kitchen and commanded respect from the Morland servants; Job took to the Yorkshire language quickly and became an invaluable translator for Eleanor while faithful Gaby provided Eleanor with unconditional love and support. As the War of the Roses wages on, Eleanor firmly takes the position of matriarch in the Morland family. Fortunately for the reader, the author provides a family tree in the beginning of the novel, since by the end of this first novel there are numerous characters. The Founding made for a delightful read and was a different look of this time period than other novels I have read. I do not want to give too much away in my review. I will say at times I admired Eleanor and at others I could barely tolerate her. In all fairness, I wavered in feelings for Robert as well and at times I pitied him and at others I wanted him to grow a spine. Regardless, together they form the beginning of what must be a fantastic dynasty, from wealthy land and sheep owners to clothing merchants, for I believe the author has now penned 32 additional novels in the Morland Dynasty Series. The Founding makes for a rather delightful read as well as an intriguing historical look into life during the middle years of the 1400s.

  • Deborah Pickstone
    2019-04-22 20:00

    Written in the 1980s, I am kinder about the historical howlers - the same level of research was just not expected then. I am fond of Ms Harrod-Eagles' 'Bill Slider' series and figured she would not have written anything positively unreadable. On first showing, this series may be a comfy fill-in when I can't seem to find a book to cut my teeth on.This is a routine family saga in its inception but an ambitious idea in that it has so far run to 35 volumes of that family saga, up to the 20th century world wars., which was meant to be the end of it but reviews of No 35 suggest the book contains hints of further volumes. I think it unlikely I will read them all unless the writing livens up considerably - not impossible, again with a nod to Bill Slider.

  • Andrea
    2019-04-23 17:06

    I read this book and the second one because the author had an interesting idea for a series: follow a family's lineage through history and note how events effect their family and fortunes. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this author's writing style, finding it to be shallow and predictable. Within the first few chapters, you know immediately who are the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys' and what's going to happen next. The characters don't have plausible explanations for their actions; the bad guys do bad things because that's what bad guys do. Likewise for the good guys.It was like reading something written by a teenager: good ideas but no depth, no insights in human nature or historical events. I would still love to see this concept written out but by a superior author.

  • Andrea Fife
    2019-05-06 17:01

    I was so disappointed! The characters and setting were amazing, and the historical aspects were interesting, but the story was terribly flat. I wanted to care what happened to the characters, but I just didn't. Where there should have been depth and emotion, there was "this happened, then this happened, then this happened." At times when the things "happening" should have been heart wrenching, I felt nothing! Star-crossed lovers, lost children, individuals robbed of choice, and I felt... nothing! Oh how I wish these characters had been done justice by the likes of Gerald Lund or Dean Hughes. Saddest of all, this is a 32 book series. If I had liked it, I would have been set.

  • CLM
    2019-04-20 18:53

    This is book one of an exhausting yet enjoyable series that begins during the Wars of the Roses. The heroine is a ward of the powerful Beaufort family with a secret passion for Richard, Duke of York (it is always a passion for Edward or Richard but never Edmund, for obvious reasons), yet is forced into an arranged marriage with Robert Morland.

  • Gaby
    2019-05-01 21:49

    The Founding, set in Yorkshire in the early 1400s, is the start of an engrossing historical saga. The Founding is the first in the Morland Dynasty series, and in it we meet Edward Morland, a wealthy sheep farmer, who pairs his only son with a well connected but orphaned Eleanor Courtney. Though Edward Morland is unpolished, he is ambitious and has a long view that holds him and his family in good stead. Though Eleanor never fully warms to her gruff and bullying father-in-law, he teaches her well and they, along with the gentle and industrious Robert, the three of them lay the foundation for one of the largest fortunes in England. Vast wealth is only one part of the Morland legacy.Arguably, the Morland's greatest asset is Robert Morland's beautiful and spirited wife, Eleanor Courtney. Though Eleanor had initially resented being forced to marry into trade, she proved to be an astute businesswoman in her own right. Robert's steadiness and industry and Eleanor's ambition and connections gave the Morland family an edge which they used to go forward. The Founding takes us from the very start of the Morland's rise to their early ties to the House of York and to their place in King Richard III's court.One of the longest and most successful family sagas, Morland Dynasty saga draws you in and you soon find yourself caring what happens to Robert, Eleanor, Job, and the other members of their extended family. Cynthia Harrod-Eagles weaves historical figures and events into the dramas, failures, and successes of the Morlands. Reading the first in the series, gave me much the same feeling that I had when I first discovered R.F. Delderfield's trilogy of the Swann family, but while Delderfield's series captured the Industrial Age in the UK, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles's is 34 volumes and spans five hundred years. The Founding is a fascinating read and I'm eager to dive into the next book in the series.ISBN-10: 1402238150 - Paperback Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reissue edition (April 1, 2010), 560 pages.Review copy provided by the publisher.

  • Christy B
    2019-04-21 00:02

    I've had the Morland series on my wish list for a while, so I jumped at the chance to start reading and reviewing the re-issues that Sourcebooks are putting out. I love books that chronicle many generations of a family, so to have an entire series with 30+ books dedicated to this concept is a dream for a geek like me!Book one in the series, The Founding, isn't the start of the Morland family, but the start of its dynasty. Eleanor Courteney, ward of the Beaufort family, is set to marry Robert Morland, an arrangement that will supply the Morlands with the protection of the Beaufort name and the Beauforts with the Morland's money.Eleanor is appalled to have to marry this sheep farmer, especially when she harbors a deep love for Richard, Duke of York. However, this union lays the groundwork for a great family dynasty. And the Morland family is thrown in to the midst of the War of the Roses. Eleanor's sons and grandsons find themselves in the middle of some of the most infamous battles.I must admit, the medieval period is not something I'm greatly knowledgeable about, and the War of the Roses has always seemed too complex for me to ever fully understand, but The Founding has, believe it or not, helped me towards coming to understand this period in time. That's one of my favorite things about historical fiction: the good novels educate.There are many characters to keep up with and, thankfully, there is a helpful family tree at the beginning of the book, which I used a lot. Since there were so many characters, I can't say I connected with a lot of them, really. Eleanor was the main character, the central figure, and I did like her, even though sometimes she wasn't all that endearing.I can see myself becoming very enthralled with this series. There is no way I'm going to be able to not read the entire catalog. The Founding was extremely well written and is, so far, my favorite medieval set book.

  • Toni
    2019-05-03 00:37

    This book was beyond just being a rousing disappointment, it was truly painful to finish. The Founding failed on so many levels. First, the writing was pedestrian. Second, the story was not only formulaic, it was boring. Extremely and fundamentally boring. I could not care a lick about any of these characters-and there are so many characters that it's impossible to remember them. It's laughable how many characters there are in this book. The worst part about this book though is the main character. I imagine the writer meant her to be likeable, even admirable, however she's nothing better than a horrible selfish shrew. Writers often think writing a strong woman means writing a hard cold tough woman. Heaven forbid a strong woman be sweet or kind. Eleanor Morland is actually one of the worst characters I've ever read. She's not the only flawed character though, this book is filled with them. In a book with so many characters it says a lot that I didn't like one. There was no emotional attachment to either character or story. How could there be when the writer sweeps past such events as a child's deaths in a few unfeeling words? Everything is handled this way, with an mind boggling lack of human emotion. I would go into all of the problems with this book and with this ridiculously awful main character except I want to be as done with this book as possible and move on. I have crossed the entire Morland Dynasty series off my to-read list. My recommendation: Don't Read this Book. Two very big thumbs down.

  • Ashley W
    2019-05-20 23:49

    Re-read 2/10/16 - I reread this book because I recently received (aka splurged on) books 2-7 in the series. I wasn't planning on reading the rest of the series, but I read a snippet of book 6, decided I liked it, and picked up this one again because I forgot a lot of the main plot points about the Morland family. Surprisingly, I liked the book a LOT better than I did when I read it four years ago. I don't know if it's because I'm older or if I just know a lot more about the time period than I did. There were still a couple issues that I had with it, but again, I had to remember this book was written in 1980 when a lot of information still not known about the Wars of the Roses. For the most part, I found the characters somewhat more likable than I did the first time around. The first in a whopping series of 35 books, The Founding begins before the Wars of the Roses with the wedding of Robert Morland and Eleanor Courteney, who could not be more different. Robert, a rich sheep farmer, and Eleanor, a poor but gentle bred girl, seem to be an awkward match as she believes him to be beneath her. However, they soon come to care for each other and together start a dynasty that lasts for the next 500+ years. Though I still wasn't too fond of Eleanor, I did come to admire her strength and respect her need to do whatever she could to keep her family going. I still had problems with how she treated some of her children and grandchildren, especially Isabella. I felt so bad for Isabella and how Eleanor forced her into marrying someone she didn't love, but that was the norm for the times. I was actually more annoyed with Robert this time around. He didn't speak up for himself or his wife and basically allowed his father to abuse them. Ugh. Edward Morland, Robert's father, I hated then and now, so that didn't change. Another thing I looked at differently this time was the treatment of Elizabeth Woodville and her relatives. I hated the way Eleanor spoke badly about Elizabeth and how she supposedly hated Richard III and tried to kill him. I don't know if it was the author's views coming through, but on every other page, it was all "Elizabeth Woodville is evulz!" Once again, I did remind myself again that the book was written in the 80s. After all, The Sunne in Splendour, the magnus opus of the Wars of the Roses, paints her as cold and evil. Original read 05/2012 --I started this book a while ago, but I put it down for a bit, because I got bored with it. However, I'm very glad I picked it up again. While the book was a bit dry, I had to remember that it was written nearly twenty years ago before the Tudor fiction boom, so there are a lot of descriptions about how things worked in pre-Tudor England. The Founding is the first book in the Morland Dynasty series, introduces the founding characters of Robert Morland and his wife, Eleanor Courteney. The two, at first, seemed to be ill-matched as Robert was a meek man who was the rich heir of a sheep farmer and Eleanor was a spirited gentle born woman with no dowry. I liked Robert enough, but Eleanor annoyed me throughout the whole book. The matriarch of the Morland family, she feels the need to be in absolute control of everything: the household, the family business, and especially in the lives of her children and grandchildren. If one of them chose to marry beneath their station, they incurred her wrath and even stopped speaking to one of her sons because of it. Also, she played favorites, and if a favorite happened to do the same (marry beneath their station), it was fine with her. She was also in love with Richard, Duke of York, and looked down on her husband for being a sheep farmer when she herself was poor as dirt.Other than Eleanor, I liked the rest of the characters and sympathized with most of them, especially those killed in battle during the Wars of the Roses, which was a very confusing time in British period. My personal favorites were headstrong Isabella whose ending was too tragic for words, and Eleanor's grandchildren, Ned and Thom, whose banter reminded me of a medieval version of the Weasley twins.I will gladly read the next book in the series as long as I don't encounter another woman like Eleanor...

  • Anita
    2019-04-29 17:02

    Cynthia Harrod-Eagles ‘Dynasty’ series was first published in 1980, and book number 35 is now available. Sourcebooks has gone back to the beginning and reprinted the first books and being a CHE fan, I jumped at the chance to re-read an old favouriteThe story of The Founding opens during the Wars of the Roses. Eleanor Courtney is a scion of the noble house of Beaufort and companion to Belle, Lord Edmund’s wife. Eleanor has developed an infatuation for Richard, Duke of York and carries a missal he gave her always as her talisman. When Lord Edmund announces she is to be married to a wealthy Yorkshire farmer’s son, Eleanor is horrified. After a formal betrothal, she travels in her husband-to-be’s entourage from beautiful Corfe Castle in the rolling green hills of Dorset, to the bleak and windswept Yorkshire moors and the functional, male dominated Moreland farmhouse which offers no hospitality to the distressed young bride.Eleanor is not fazed, however and is determined to bring some feminine influence to her new home, despite an aggressive father-in-law who regards the only way to treat outspoken women is a regular beating.Eleanor’s distress at her social distance from her first love, and her abhorrence for the boy-farmer, Robert Morland is palpable. Robert himself is a disappointment to his father, being poetic and not physically dominating. But he adores Eleanor from the first and she cannot help but be touched by his gift of a puppy from his favourite hound bitch.The Founding is a masterpiece of research into life in Middle-Age England, with vivid descriptions of the clothes, food and hierarchy in grand houses in contrast to the way of life of the Yorkshire farming community. The story soon moves into the War of the Roses, and shows how every such conflict divides families.It was CHE [and Jean Plaidy:] who first inspired me to write historical fiction, and I was intrigued to see if the style of writing would appear different from my first experience with the series. Her style includes a great deal of head hopping, passive voice and author intrusion no longer fashionable in modern writing. Most of the rules which editors will tell you are a bar to publication were there, including ‘her face paled’ when in the character’s PoV.I can honestly say none of this spoiled the story for me in any way. In fact readers probably wouldn’t even notice, only aspiring authors who read ‘How To Write Books’. The Founding is still a compelling introduction to the Moreland family which makes me want to read the entire series again. I eagerly await the next one!

  • Amy Bruno
    2019-04-19 22:51

    Eleanor Courteney is none too pleased when she hears that she is to be married to a local sheep farmer’s son. Given that Eleanor is an orphan with no dowry to speak of this match is actually better than a girl in her situation could’ve hoped for, but the young and feisty future matriarch of the Morland dynasty doesn’t see it that way. She is still secretly pining away for Edward, Duke of York with whom she fancies herself in love. Robert Morland and Eleanor are as different as night and day. Meek and somewhat spineless, at least where his father is concerned, Robert can only stare in awe at his future wife so full of confidence and spunk. While Robert is immediately smitten with Eleanor, she is not impressed with this seeming wimp of a husband and horrified at her new surroundings of the Morland home. Ever pragmatic, Eleanor soon resigns herself to her new life and sets out to make this new home her own, despite the obstacles set in her way by her father in law, Edward, who has less manners than the sheep he raises. Through the years and as they work together to build their dynasty, expand their family business and produce an abundance of children, Robert and Eleanor’s relationship deepens into one of mutual love and respect. As for the historical setting, The Founding takes place during the time of the War of the Roses and the reign of Richard III into the usurpation of the crown by Henry Tudor. Eleanor’s previous connection with royalty and her status as a wealthy cloth merchant provides us with a glimpse into the politics of the day, via the key people themselves. Richard Platagenet, Duke of York and his wife Cecily, as well as, Richard III and Queen Anne make appearances and even life as a Yorkist soldier is experienced as we watch the Morland sons and grandsons fight for the cause. Now, I know other reviewers have stated that they disliked Eleanor immensely and while I can most definitely see their reasons, I found myself liking her a lot. I don’t know if it’s maybe because she is so different from myself?! I have a tendency to be ruled by emotions and I’ve always admired people that are more in control of theirs. Yes, she does come off as a snob in the beginning of the novel, but she was raised by a noble family all her life and knows nothing else, so of course she’s going to be rankled by the thought of marrying someone that’s not in their circle. Overall, I found The Founding to be an entertaining and engrossing read that contains two intriguing elements…family drama and history. My only issue was the sheer volume of kids and grandkids and great-grandkids can get confusing and overwhelming at times, but you eventually figure it out for me it didn’t take anything away from the story. I highly recommend The Founding and can’t wait to begin the 2nd book in the Morland Dynasty series, The Dark Rose.

  • Kathleen Jones
    2019-05-19 16:57

    If you like Philippa Gregory, you'll love this. I read another writer's blog (Random Jottings - The End of a Dynasty?) recently lamenting that Cynthia Harrod Eagles' publishers had 'dropped' her because sales of her cult historical novels weren't as high as they would have liked. The blogger raved about the Morland Dynasty and the Kirov Saga (the latter set in Russia) and I was intrigued. Here was a writer with a long track record of rave-reviewed historical fiction and I'd never stumbled on her before. Why? Under-promotion, the blogger suggested - all the publisher's fault. So I hopped over to Amazon and downloaded the first of the Morland Dynasty saga - The Founding - set in the 15th century world of Richard III, Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret of Anjou and the Wars of the Roses - Lancaster and York.I was immediately gripped by the central character - Eleanor Courtenay, impoverished ward of Lord Edmund Beaufort (grandson of John of Gaunt) - who is sold off in marriage to a wealthy Yorkshire sheep farmer and wool merchant who wants to trade his money for a bit of spit-and-polish and some aristocratic influence. The gently born and educated Eleanor is transported to a filthy northern farmhouse and bears four children in three years. Eleanor's courage and sheer bloody-mindedness win in the end, but the influential connection she brings with her also carries obligations that are not always comfortable. She and her husband find themselves caught up in the civil war and torn between allegiance to the Lancastrian Beauforts or to Richard of York. Eleanor's private loyalties prove costly.It's been a very good read with accurate historical detail - a wonderful insight into the way women had to live - enduring superstition and prejudice and almost continual child-bearing. I also liked the way that Eleanor's character developed through the book as she aged and was changed by circumstance. I'm off now to down-load the next book, The Dark Rose, to follow the fortunes of Eleanor's grandchildren. There are 35 books altogether, bringing the family's fortunes up to the present day, so I expect to have to pick and choose a bit, but there are some readers who have read every one and are totally addicted!I might also follow Random Jottings' suggestion and write to the the publishers to protest about their actions - it's time Readers started to make publishers aware of what they want.

  • Annie
    2019-05-02 20:04

    This epic, brilliantly intricate series is like a family tree come to life with branches that stretch from the War of the Roses all the way to World War I. For me, to read it was to become absorbed not only in the characters of the family but in the character of England herself.This is the kind of book that made me want to pick up my pen and start writing again and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt a little awe-struck by this series. I know people who are die-hard fans of her work but I just never 'got it' before now and I'm so glad to finally be a member of that club. I am really excited that Sourcebooks has taken the opportunity to publish her series from the beginning - I will definitely be reading along with the releases as they come.One of the true credits to this book was the characterisation. Eleanor Morland, the fierce and resilient protagonist of The Founding, is both in equal parts a horror and a delight to read. It was not possible to always like or agree with her and at times she just seemed downright cruel (by today's standards) but at all times she was a formidable matriarch and a symbol of feminine strength. Cynthia Harrod-Eagles unveiled the light and shade of Eleanor's personality with such careful consideration that it's hard to believe she didn't really exist. This character lived and breathed on the page and I was engrossed with her story from early marriage to her eventual death - no one else could have possibly launched the Morland Dynasty series but the fiery Eleanor.There are currently 32 + books in this series and even if that sounds daunting, I urge you to and pick up book one, The Founding. I hope that as I did, you find within its pages a story to captivate you and characters who will sweep you away to a world long past.If you're a fan of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, I'd love to hear how many books you've read and which one was your favourite. Leave a comment :)PS Talk about prolific! Did you know that Cynthia Harrod-Eagles has written over 72 books? Check out her website for more info. Review by Annie

  • Ana T.
    2019-05-16 19:50

    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, besides, 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 neighbour against neighbour, and brings tragedy close to home. I've heard so many times people rave about these books that I finally couldn't resist and bought the first one.It is a superbly well written story, full of historical detail but I felt the people lacked a bit of charisma. The main character is a strong woman, so strong in fact that she comes across as cold and unfeeling at times. In a way I felt you could tell this is the beginning of a great saga which is reinforced by the fact that the main characters themselves mention they are starting a dynasty.It begins with Eleanor's marriage to Robert Morland. A man she considers beneath her, and follows them through the birth of their many children, a rise in their fortunes, moving to a new house and entertaining illustrious guests as the Duke of York. Everything Eleanor Morland does is with goal of strengthening the power and the fortune of the family and there are times in which she doesn't hesitate to sacrifice her children. Her devotion to York leads the family to be involved in the politics of the day and to suffer during the Wars of the Roses and the downfall of Richard III.I was a bit afraid in the beginning of starting a series that already has 30 titles but after reading this one I'm sure they will provide an interesting outlook on english history and I can't wait to start the next one.Grade: B

  • Patty
    2019-04-22 20:57

    I will start this review by stating that I love history. My AA is European history and then I went on in Art History. I have read a lot of historical novels and history books in my life. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this first in the Morland Dynasty series and am looking forward to the second - which is sitting in my review pile - but it is a book steeped in history. And I think it helped to have a basic knowledge of the players at hand during the time.Eleanor Courtnay is sent to marry young Robert Morland - the son of a rich sheep farmer she feels is beneath her. She is deeply in love with the Duke of York but she is not of his class and will never be a suitable bride for him. But she is still young and thinks love will counquer all.Sadly, she learns otherwise as she heads off to her new life. She is a strong woman and soon adapts to and thrives in her new household. Her father in law is a brute - there is no other word. Robert, though has some gentlemanly ways. Together Eleanor and Robert create a strong family. A rich family that ultimately support the Yorkists.Eleanor for all her strength comes off as very unlikeable and that is a shame. There are also hops in time that you only pick up through casual mentions in text. Suddenly a child that was just born is now 4 or 5 years old without any segue. But I was enthralled with the story and wanted to keep reading.The fictional Morlands were placed within actual events to good use and there are 34 books in the series. That's a lot of Morlands! I hope I get to read them all...There is a lot of history as I mentioned and this is a truly confusing period in England's past so the book is to be read with thought but it is a good read for any lover of good historical fiction.

  • Christina Sesok
    2019-05-13 20:01

    I have to admit, I was highly disappointed with this book, but my determination is what made me finish it. One thing that would have been extremely helpful is dates at the beginning of chapters, as Harrod-Eagles tends to jump ahead A LOT, as this basically covers the entire life of a woman and her family, the start of the Morland dynasty. More often than not, I found myself wondering what year it was, how old the characters were and how much time had passed since they got married or left home. Because years were simply mentioned in passing, however, that was easier said than done.I also found that the sheer amount of characters in this book was quite confusing. Eleanor, the protagonist, had 9 children, and once they had children and grandchildren, there was simply name after name being thrown at you, and it doesn't help that they often shared the same name as someone else already introduced in the novel. There is a family tree in the beginning of the novel, make sure you use it, as it will be most helpful most of the time (as long as you know which Richard or Cecily they are talking about).Overall, I am willing to give the Morland Dynasty serious the benefit of the doubt. I have a handful of the books, and I'm going to give the next one a shot, as I heard that they do get better as they progress.

  • Deana
    2019-05-19 01:02

    the Morland Dynasty....Book 1I started reading this series in 1980.....and after buying an Ipad decided to revisit them one by one and am now up to Book 6.The first book starts in the 15th century and the last book will take us up to present day. The series follows the Morland family through generation after generation and covers all the historically significant moments in history.The main fascination for me was that as i am a huge history fan , but on beginning the books was amazed to find that the family live in York, North Yorkshire....where i live. So the book was a personal journey of discovery of Yorks chequered history. It is also wonderful to read when i recognise all the monuments and street names, that i walk everyday.A wonderful series!!!!!!!!!

  • Samantha Crisford-eade
    2019-05-12 17:03

    I'm so excited to have discovered this series at my local library. Being a history buff & having 20 books ahead of me of this series is perhaps in a sad way bringing me too much joy!!! I'm always a sucker for a strong feminine heroine which Eleanor brings. The male characters that surround her are strong & sensible in their own way yet Eleanor remains the smart & revered matriarch - hey every woman wants to be doted on by the men around her don't they! The best par the author brings is the description of how they lived - from the rushes on the floor, to herb gardens and what each servants responsibility was - that's what truly interests me as I feel like its a journey back in time that only I am travelling. I've just ordered Book 2 on eBay!

  • Mary Ronan Drew
    2019-05-20 20:50

    This is my third reading of this first book in a very lengthy series that follows the Morland family from the 15th century when they are increasingly wealthy sheep farmers in Yorkshire to the 20th century.

  • Margaret Sankey
    2019-04-21 17:56

    Solid start to an epic historical novel series following one family from the north of England, beginning with this volume, centered around the lifespan of one woman, born noble, but married into a sheep and land fortune during the Wars of the Roses.

  • Sharon Bruce
    2019-05-04 21:41

    Excellent book! Will start #2 of 35 right away!

  • Barbara
    2019-04-29 00:54

    I've just been introduced to this series by a friend who tells me they have re-read it multiple times and loaned me the first four books on the pledge that they MUST be returned as she expects she will be re-reading them again.I found this first book in the series, interesting on many levels, despite the fact that I didn't find the characters particularly engaging. Somehow I didn't feel I got close to any of the characters (there is a large cast), and those I did start to get attached to, and feel some sympathy for, generally seemed to die rather quickly or only play a bit part in the narrative.The historical context and details are interesting, if at times strongly biased, and interpreted through the central character's Yorkist allegiance (some interesting interpretations of history are thrown up by this which will have some readers and students of history scratching their heads). I am intrigued to see how this will play out in the second book in the series 'now' the Tudors have taken power.I have rated the book at three stars, though if a three stars plus rating was available that is what I would give it.

  • Linda
    2019-05-19 22:49

    This has been on my To-Read list for donkey's years* (*a VERY long time). Since I like historical fiction, I'm not sure why I waited so long to read it; possibly I was intimidated by the fact that it was the first in a 30-plus volume series.The Founding covers approximately the last 50 years of the Wars of the Roses, beginning with the marriage of Eleanor Courteney and Robert Morland, and ending the year after the Yorkist defeat at Bosworth Field. This book was available at my local library, but if I want to continue the series -- and I do -- I will have to request future sequels from out-of-town libraries, which is a bit of an inconvenience.

  • Jane Irish Nelson
    2019-04-26 17:47

    When young Eleanor Courtney's guardian arranges for her to marry Robert Morland, the son of a Yorkshire wool merchant she is taken aback at the prospect. Not only must she leave her pleasant like with her friend Belle in the south, she must also bid farewell to the fantasy of her love for another, one far out of her reach. But, with the help of her servants, she soon finds her footing in her new position, and pushes her husband into ways of increasing their business along with their standing in the community. Fascinating story of both Eleanor's life, along with her family's, against the background of the Wars of the Roses. Highly recommended.

  • Marie
    2019-05-19 19:05

    The Founding is a novel that Cynthia Harrod-Eagles wrote in 1980, originally intended to be a twelve volume series written by two writers. Which would have already been a large task, but somehow it turned into one writer penning all thirty-four novels (the thirty-fourth will be published in November 2010 by Sphere). Sourcebooks is now reissuing some of the earlier novels, such as this first book that starts in 1434 in England. The fictional Morland Dynasty is now the longest-running historical family saga ever, which follows the Morlands for over 500 years of their history. Eleanor Courteney was a ward of a nobleman and fancied herself married to a nobleman one day. But she was with no dowry, so she was going to have to accept a lower standard and was forced to do so when she married into the Morland dynasty. The Morlands were not of the same group that Eleanor would have preferred, but they were known for their riches as they were successful sheep farmers. Eleanor was portrayed as haughty and materialistic, as she not so quietly put up with her father-in-law until he passed, and when he did she set to work on her weaker-minded husband as to how to raise a gentleman's household. I did not feel very sorry for Eleanor, she was a bit sarcastic and snide, and even the word sarcastic was used a bit too much throughout the novel.The story is very much a family saga epic style that I truly enjoy, and the one setback for me was Eleanor. As the main protagonist, I did not empathize with her much, as she continually disappointed me until the very end. Her children came and went and I did not feel as close to them as I wanted to either. I could not get my head totally absorbed in the characters, perhaps because there were so many. Yet, the whole package of the story set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses was very cleverly done and is what propelled me through. The Wars of the Roses is one of my most favorite periods to read about, and I always enjoy reading another view point. Of course, this is truly fictional with the fictional Morlands being inserted at opportune times to be able to tell what is going on behind closed political doors, and of course Eleanor was very close to certain members, such as Richard Plantagenet, father to King Edward IV, and later her son/grandson/(I lost track) was also in service to the next king Richard. I was most happy when the history part came in to being within the writing, and less so when it was all about Eleanor. (Think "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!!" but replace that with Eleanor). Eleanor is strongly Yorkist, therefore the book is very pro-Ricardian and prejudiced against the Lancastrians. While I try not to stand too strongly in one camp, I do have respect for the Tudors, who are Lancastrian. There are mentions of the "vain-glorious and weak-headed Buckingham" and Henry Tidr (aka Henry VII) and the scoffing at Tidr wanting to change the spelling of his name to Tudor. Another favorite historical topic of mine deals with the missing princes in the tower, which was totally not accurately portrayed; along with many of the other historical details, but this issue could easily be overlooked by those who are simply enjoying the story of a family's journey.Along with Eleanor there are many children. There were births of those children, marriages, births of children to those children, and deaths. There had to be a few left standing though, in order for the next 33 books to be able to be called the Morland Dynasty. There are family trees in the beginning of each book that pertain to that particular branch and book, and you can also find them on the author's website. I was having trouble keeping up with the kids and the kids of the kids and who belonged to who which is why the family trees come in handy, and I had to consult them often. I hated noticing the date of death for each person because then I knew what was going to happen. To top all that off, one kid was called either Thom or Thorn depending on what time of the day it was and I kept re-reading it to see if I had misread it. Turns out after I wrote this review that the name was supposed to be Thom but the ARC I had was wrong.But through it all, although this is not a heart wrenching, tear jerking, literary masterpiece, I still enjoyed the story. I think if Eleanor was a bit more likable it would have reflected on the rest of the book for me as well. I have not given up though, as I have Book #2: The Dark Rose waiting in the wings for June 2010. The next one deals with Henry VIII's times and I look forward to the the point of view of that time period, and sincerely hope that the protagonist there is someone after my own heart. I think moving away from the matriarch Eleanor and from my favorite Wars of the Roses topic, there is still hope for me with the series since I did enjoy the writing style very much and I am a fan of historical sagas. I have seen many many many many much more gushing positive reviews than my opinion here (I spelled out all the knit-picky things here which I normally don't do) so I think I am the minority of those who did not absolutely adore the book. But, it must be said the ending did end well enough that I was deeply touched and the ending helped redeem the entirety of the novel for me. The novel did its job of keeping me entertained throughout, and I would recommend this for those who enjoy family sagas set against a historical theme.

  • Anne Libera
    2019-04-20 22:37

    Sweeping historical fiction of a York family during the War of the Roses. I wanted to like this more than I did, it is highly episodic and full of character and incident without a great deal of true plotting. I kept expecting levels of foreshadowing or meaning that never did appear. Having said that, I was interested in this particular take on the period and there were moments and scenes that I enjoyed quite a bit and I am interested to read the next installment in the series.

  • Elizabeth Stucker
    2019-05-03 16:55

    My one and only complaint revolves around the various names through the Morland generations. I very much understand that family/common names were often repeated every generation, but even with the family tree, it was sometimes hard to keep track of who was talking about who, especially when there are four different characters at once named Richard (all of whom are oftentimes referred to as just Richard, no other distinctions.)

  • Carolyn R. Bradley
    2019-05-12 21:37

    I have read every book in this family Saga and have not found one that did not hold my attention. The characters were interesting, diverse but typical of their time. She brings to life the emotions and privations of each era as well as being able to allow us to be a part of the family as we read. A terrific storyteller and superb historical detail.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-22 21:59

    This was an impulse grab at the library, and I didn't have high expectations as historical romance is not generally my cup of tea. It always seems to be overly whitewashed. However in this case I genuinely enjoyed the family saga of the Morlands in the English medieval era and how they fared during the Wars of the Roses and the Hundred Years' War. Eleanor Morland, orphaned gentlewoman, is sent to York to marry the heir to the Morland estates, who has been raised to be a gentleman by his uncouth, rugged sheep farmer father. She secretly pines for war hero and nobleman Richard of York. I supposed this is the only real romance angle in the story, and it follows the medieval courtly love tradition, although in this case it is Eleanor who pines from afar for the gallant Richard who is, like herself, married. It is her love for him, not to mention her extremely strong will, that causes the Morland family to swear fealty to the Yorks during the stormy battles for the crown. The story of the Morland family and their many, many children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren is framed against the violent Wars of the Roses. You certainly get a sense of how unstable the throne of England was in those days and how poorly-defined its realm, with Scotland, Wales, and Ireland as well as England proper, and sporadically, parts of France as well, just barely held together under a single monarch who was always subject to military coups and hostile usurpers who were often from his own relations. In this context medieval feudalism, which is quite an oppressive idea to modern sensibility, makes a lot of sense. People of all social classes swore loyalty to the wealthy and powerful lords who could protect them. For simple peasants, this meant protection from their possessions being stolen and their villages ransacked by another lord's marauders. For noble families, fealty was often aligned with whoever seemed likely to either be crowned rightful king or to remain so for the longest, and in exchange for patronage and favors, these kings often asked for considerable financial gifts or loans to wage war against common enemies. You do understand why the Morland servants and retainers are so loyal to the family that treats them kindly, and why the young pages sent to serve great lords and kings are passionate in their declarations of love and loyalty to their masters. This is not an era in which any kind of social equality plays a role. The author does not shy away from the unpleasantness of daily life in the medieval era, even for the upper classes. Things like chimneys and glass windows were just beginning to catch on. Retainers, male servants, and even male children of the noble household still slept on rushes in the great hall, whereas women typically shared rooms and often beds with their gently-born ladies' maids. The ancient tradition of fostering children to other noble families was much in evidence as a way to establish political ties. And of course marriage was the best way to do that, and nearly everyone, rich or poor, had arranged marriages - the poor because a wife was a financial burden and must come with a dowry, whereas a husband must be able to provide sufficiently for her, and the rich because marriages were the most common way to align the powerful families. Even France, the hated enemy of the English, sent many a highborn lady into marriage with the English royalty. Most people made the best of the situation, and the few characters who do marry whom they choose - by eloping, or securing a priest to marry, or "troth plight" i.e. engaging in sex before marriage, which was regarded as binding as a betrothal - do not necessarily end up any happier than those whose marriages were arranged. Because this is a family saga and the Morlands have tons of children - Eleanor alone has at least 12, I think - and the children often bear the same family given names, it's very difficult to keep track of them all. I suppose that's often the case when a story spans 50+ years. While Eleanor, who grows from nervous bride to headstrong matriarch in the novel, is the main protagonist, there is no one narrator of the tale. There is a family tree chart in the first few pages, to which I referred frequently, but it contains "spoilers" in the date of death is listed, and there were a great many untimely deaths in the middle ages - disease, childbirth, accident, and of course, war. It would have been helpful if a chart of the English royalty was also included, as it was difficult to keep track of this line of kings in such a stormy time in history. Nevertheless, I found myself highly engaged by the story, and while I can't say I have intentions to read through the entire series, I expect I'll pick up the Morland story in the next book or two.