Friday, July 23, 2010

The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod Eagles review



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.
(from the Publisher)

My Thoughts:

Once again we join the Morland family, through another of England’s turbulent times, the reign of Henry VIII. The Dark Rose focuses primarily on the lives of Paul, great grandson to Eleanor, and his niece Nanette. Like the Founding (the first book in the Morland Dynasty series), the second focuses on family dynamics, although we see a bit more court life seep into the book, while the Morland’s become more entwined with the court of Henry VIII.

Although I have heard that some readers feel the book wonders a bit, I found myself enjoying the way it read. Paul’s brooding character and his affair sheds light on what life in the 1500’s was like. Often those in situations such as Paul’s felt at any moment their world could crash down around them, then add a loveless marriage, and the fact that you only have one legitimate heir to the mix one can only imagine how unbearable it would feel. Then the drama of court life, particularly the era of Anne Boleyn, brings an intriguing aspect to the book which made it impossible for me to put down.

The second book in the Morland Dynasty, THE DARK ROSE, is as well written as the first. A true page turner, that offers the reader a few shocking outcomes. The only thing that I found bothersome was that the author used more creative licensing rather than sticking to the historical facts, although it was an enjoyable read, that I highly recommend.

For those of you unaware of the Morland ancestry a lovely chart has been added.

Although the Morland’s are a fictional family, the author Cynthia Harrod Eagles gives readers a glimpse of what many families went through throughout England’s turbulent history.

A Few Facts about the Morland Dynasty

There are currently 32 books in the Morland Dynasty and follows the linage of one family
The series follows England’s history from the War of the Roses until the first World War.


Don’t forget to look for my review for the third book, The Princeling.

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