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DYNASTY 1: THE FOUNDING (THE MORLAND DYNASTY)

THE FOUNDING is the first book in a series of thirty-four, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, that deals with the Morland family, who come from York, England. This novel starts with a marriage, when the Morland heir, Robert, is betrothed to a dower-less young girl, Eleanor Courtenay. Why would a rich family want to ally themselves to this penniless young girl? Because her dearest friend is Eleanor Beauchamp (1408-1467), a daughter of the Earl of Warwick, and recently married to Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (1406-1455).

Throughout this novel, Ms. Harrod-Eagles uses the technique of omniscient narration, which allows her to switch points of view effectively and efficiently without disturbing the reader:

 

Robert cleared his throat, but he could not speak. Eleanor grew more impatient, in her misery, to have done with it.

Eleanor starts off the novel at the age of eighteen as a terrified (but brave) bride, and at the end of it is a seventy-year-old monarch, who rules with a rod of iron (mixed in with some love.) THE FOUNDING encompasses the years 1434-1486, which anyone with a historical bent will realize includes all of the Wars of the Roses. The Morlands starts out on the side of the Lancastrians, because they have pledged their allegiance to the Duke of Somerset, who later becomes a great champion for the Lancastrian Queen Marguerite d’Anjou. However, Eleanor has secretly been in love with Richard, Duke of York, and thus manages to see to it that the family slips over into the Yorkist camp. This works out wonderfully well for the family when the Yorks are in the ascendant during the years 1461-1485. But the novel ends with the death of the last Yorkist king Richard III, and we are left with the cold winds of change beckoning in a new, unpleasant, un-English monarch in the shape of Henry Tudor, who becomes King Henry VII of England.  What will become of the Morlands now? We will have to read the next novel to find out. Five stars.

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