Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Historical Book Review: The Dark Rose, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

I recently had the pleasure of reading, The Dark Rose, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, from her Morland Dynasty series, which is encompassed by nearly three dozen novels.  The Dark Rose was originally published in England in 1981, and just re-released this summer with Sourcebooks Landmark.  While the costume of the woman on the front cover may not be 100% accurate, the cover itself is gorgeous, is it not?

Book Blurb:

In The Dark Rose, the turbulence of Henry VIII's reign brings passion and pain to the Morlands as they achieve ever greater wealth and prestige.

In Cynthia Harrod-Eagles's worldwide bestsellers, the majestic sweep of English history is richly and movingly portrayed through the fictional lives of the Morland family.

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.

Product ISBN: 9781402238161

Price: $14.99
Publication Date: July 2010

My Review:

The Tudor era is one of my favorites, and when I say favorite, it is said with much delight!  Even my nine-year-old knows how much mother loves the history surrrounding Henry VIII.  That being said, reading this book was a real treat for me.  Ms. Harrod-Eagles has done an impressive job with her research.  Court life, and country life came to life.  Clothing and accessories popped, even shoes!  Her scenery description of palaces, gardens, manor homes, chapels, cities, etc... was all expertly done, so that I could actually envision it in my mind's eye. 

The story covers just under 40 years, which to some may seem daunting, as will the nearly 600 pages of the novel.  But never fear!  The book is well paced and smooth.  The reading was easy, and with her vivid voice, constant conflict and excellent portrayal of Henry VIII, his wives and the court, I was easily able to escape into the novel and read it in a short time. 

We really get a first hand look at court life, as well as what life was like for those away from court.  Our hero and heroine are right there in the midst of it.  And if I didn't know it was fiction, I could certainly believe it was real. 

Well done Ms. Harrod-Eagles!  I was thoroughly intrigued and entertained and look forward to reading more and more of the Morland Dynasty novels.

About the Author: (from the author's site)
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles still lives in London, has a husband and three children, and apart from writing her passions are music (she plays in several amateur orchestras) horses, wine, architecture and the English countryside.

The birth of the MORLAND DYNASTY series enabled her to become a full-time writer in 1979. The series was originally intended to comprise twelve volumes, but it has proved so popular that it has now been extended to thirty-four.

Visit Cynthia at http://www.cynthiaharrodeagles.com/

1 comment:

Marg said...

I am slowly working my way through this series, and thoroughly loving it! At this rate it will take me about 10 years to get to the end - it's an extraordinarily long series!