Review: The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

The Dark Rose
Book Two, Morland Dynasty Series

by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Release Date:  July 1, 2010
Sourcebooks Publishing

SYNOPSIS:  It is 1501, and Paul, great-grandson of Eleanor Morland, has inherited the estate and has a son to follow him. But he fathers an illegitimate boy by his beloved mistress, and bitter jealously between the half-brothers causes a destructive rift that threatens to destroy them all.

Paul's niece Nanette has her own passions, and becomes maid-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn. At the court of Henry VIII, she witnesses firsthand the events leading up to the rift with Rome, her mistress's execution, and the further efforts of the sad, ailing king to secure the male succession. And through all the turmoil of Henry VIII's reign-from drought to floods, from religious reform to court intrigue-the Morlands find new ways to come together while the world seems intent on tearing them apart.

MY THOUGHTS: As much as I enjoyed book one, The Founding (READ MY REVIEW HERE), I gotta say that book two was rather disappointing. Set during the reign of Henry VIII, The Dark Rose takes us on a journey through the lives of the Morlands, in particular Paul (the matriarch Eleanor’s great-grandson) and his niece Nanette during this tumultuous time in England’s history. And you would think that being set in Tudor times that the book would be exciting, riveting but I found it just plain boring and sometimes a bit unbelievable. It wasn’t a bad read necessarily, just not a great one.

The Morlands have their share of heartbreak in this novel and Paul is entwined in a battle between his heir and his bastard son which comes to a head at the end. Nanette is our eyes and ears to the Tudor Court as she serves as lady in waiting to Anne Boleyn and later Katherine Parr and willingly puts her own life (and love) on hold to remain loyal to them, almost to her detriment.

Eagles’ does throw the reader a big OMG moment about about ¼ of the way into the novel, but what it is you’re going to have to find out for yourself…you won’t find any spoilers here! Suffice it to say that you’re eyebrows will be raised and you may just say to yourself as I did, WTH?  After my first initial shock, the storyline didn’t bother me so much, but I most definitely did not see that coming!

Although The Dark Rose didn’t do much for me and was not a page turner by any form of imagination, I am not letting it stop me from continuing the series. Book Three: The Princeling comes out later this year and I am crossing my fingers that the series is redeemed.



  1. I didn't love this one either. I just wish she would write some characters that were positive. She just really doesn't - Nanette, ok but all the others get killed off.
    I'm giving the series one more book...

  2. Yay for no spoilers! Haha. I haven't gotten into this series - solely because it is so long, I'm sorry you are disappointed.

  3. Thanks for your honest review.

  4. Wish I had time to jump into this series. I have too many really great books waiting form me on my TBR shelf.

  5. I ordered the first book in this series after reading your review, and just realized that it never got here!! I am going to have to correct that! I really want to read these books, and I am glad you loved them so much, even though this one was a little disappointing.

  6. I'm so sad to see you say that the second book is disappointing compared to the first one! I need to read it soon, I'm hoping the third one will be better, because I don't know if I can take that many pages of disappointment more than once.


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