I've had the Morland series on my wish list for a while, so I jumped at the chance to start reading and reviewing the re-issues that Sourcebooks are putting out. I love books that chronicle many generations of a family, so to have an entire series with 30+ books dedicated to this concept is a dream for a geek like me!
Book one in the series, The Founding, isn't the start of the Morland family, but the start of its dynasty. Eleanor Courteney, ward of the Beaufort family, is set to marry Robert Morland, an arrangement that will supply the Morlands with the protection of the Beaufort name and the Beauforts with the Morland's money.
Eleanor is appalled to have to marry this sheep farmer, especially when she harbors a deep love for Richard, Duke of York. However, this union lays the groundwork for a great family dynasty. And the Morland family is thrown in to the midst of the War of the Roses. Eleanor's sons and grandsons find themselves in the middle of some of the most infamous battles.
I must admit, the medieval period is not something I'm greatly knowledgeable about, and the War of the Roses has always seemed too complex for me to ever fully understand, but The Founding has, believe it or not, helped me towards coming to understand this period in time. That's one of my favorite things about historical fiction: the good novels educate.
There are many characters to keep up with and, thankfully, there is a helpful family tree at the beginning of the book, which I used a lot. Since there were so many characters, I can't say I connected with a lot of them, really. Eleanor was the main character, the central figure, and I did like her, even though sometimes she wasn't all that endearing.
I can see myself becoming very enthralled with this series. There is no way I'm going to be able to not read the entire catalog. The Founding was extremely well written and is, so far, my favorite medieval set book.