Seeking power and prestige, grim, ambitious Yorkshireman Edward Morland arranges a marriage between his meek son Robert and spirited Eleanor, young ward of the influential Beaufort family. Eleanor is appalled at being forced to marry a mere sheep farmer; she is, besides, secretly in love with Richard, Duke of York. Yet in time this apparently ill-matched union becomes both passionate and tender, the foundation of the Morland dynasty, and sustains them through bloody civil war which so often divides families, sets neighbour against neighbour, and brings tragedy close to home.
The Founding," set during the War of the Roses, is the first book of the prolific Moreland family saga. The story opens with the marriage of the ambitious young Eleanor Courteney to Robert Moreland, son of a wealthy York wool merchant. Eleanor, having lived among nobility for most of her life, believes the match is beneath her station and desperately opposes it. The first half of the book revolves around Eleanor's struggle to come to terms with her marriage. As the novel progresses, the family is swept up, for better or for worse, by the tumultuous political tides of the war.
"The Founding" was an enjoyable read, full of colorful descriptions of everyday life during mid-to late fifteenth century England. The author effectively blends her fictional creations with historical events by giving her characters minor roles in the royal households and in significant battles of the war. In doing so, these characters' adventures seem plausible in light of known historical events. The author has also included a family chart, which this reader found extremely helpful for keeping track of the prodigious Moreland family.
Back cover: A Mighty Dynasty Is Born. Eleanor Courteney -- the proud aristocrat and beautiful pawn in the marriage that united two powerful families and heralds the birth of a great dynasty. Adored bride of Robert Morland, mistress of vast Yorkshire estates, she must never reveal her secret -- an enduring passion for Richard, the Magnificent Duke of York.
As the Wars of the Roses rage across England, loyalties shift and treason inflames the land. The time will come when the allegiance of the Morlands is pledged to the enemies of York ... a time when duty and desire must do battle.