* * * * *I read this first book of the Morland Series after I read book two "The Dark Rose". Sourcebooks has done a wonderful job with the re-issue of this series. The covers are much improved over the earlier editions that would have previously fallen into my "bodice ripper" if I had been asked to judge the books at that time.
This book covers the founding of the Morland Dynasty. The year 1434 during the War of The Rose. Eleanor Courtney, a young and beautiful ward of Lord Edmund Beaufort and his wife - another Eleanor, is betrothed to Robert Morland of York - heir to a stapler fortune (wool merchant) and a family of good standing. high standing. Eleanor is shocked that she, whose blood is royal stick, would be sent off to marry a man who she considered to be a mere 'farmer'. Her sights had been set higher - towards Prince Richard - an heir the England's throne.
The story weaves it's way through Eleanor's eventual love for Robert, the births and deaths of children, grand children and great grand children. The lives of the family are intertwined with the rise and fall of princes and kings during the turbulent years of the War of The Roses. Loyalties are tested severely, lives and loves are lost and found again. I found this book to be a excellent read. Fast moving, well developed characters, and fascinating history all tinged with love stories that are well presented and not at all "bodice ripperish' ! I am now hooked on this re-issued series and can't wait to read volume three " The Princeling". If you go in search of these fine books - be aware that the older versions may have different titles - since they were originally published in Britain. Stick with the Sourcebooks editions and you can't wrong. Another word of caution - they are highly addictive and you will not want to read just one! Enjoy