Review: The Founding by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

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.




  1. I have added this one to my TBR after seeing several reviews of it. Don't know if I want to read the whole series...but a few of the "events" some seem centered around look interesting. Thanks for the review!

  2. Great review! It sounds as though this would be a book I could really get into, and I will be excited to see what you think of the next book in the series. If you end up liking it, I might just have to add this series to my wish list! Thanks!

  3. Glad you liked it =)
    My ears were rinnnggginnng.

  4. Like Robinbird, I don't know if I would commit to a series- but a whole novel about a dynasty sounds like it would hit the spot when I'm in the thick of my Sims 2 crazes. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  5. We had this series at our library, but it wasn't being checked out so they deleted it. I recommended it frequently, but I think people were intimidated by the number of books. It's too bad.

  6. I loved it too Amy! Good to see another fan :)

  7. I've heard good things about this book, so I'm glad you liked it! I hope to pick it up soon.

  8. I'm really looking forward to starting this series soon. Perhaps I'll take pen to paper to make character lists to keep up with all of the generations. Thanks!

  9. Great review Amy! I received The Dark Rose ARC the other day but was not able to obtain this one, so I am eagerly awaiting its arrival from B&N. (Unfortunately, once I bought this book from B&N I had to buy a few more with lol)

  10. I have not read anything on Eleanor and I am sure not in the position to make any judgments...but I also like people in control of their emotions as well.
    This one sounds good and I have definitely not read anything set in this part of the history.
    Thank you for a great Review, Amy!

  11. Yes indeed, this book sounds like a book for me. I have not read many books lately set in the Tudor times. I think I am ready to dive back into that era.

    I appreciate your thoughts on Eleanor, helps to put her into perspective for me which I think will help with the read (if I happen to be one of those who do not like Eleanor)

    Putting this one on my list...


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