Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Book Review: The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Publish Date: July 2010
Format: Paperback 592 pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"The second book in the epic bestselling Morland Dynasty series which spans from the Wars of the Roses to Queen Victoria's long reign into the courts of kings and the salons of the Regency, onto the battlefields of Culloden and the Crimea, and beyond.
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. Paul, great-grandson of Eleanor Morland, has inherited the Morland estates, and his own Amyas is set to be his heir. But Paul fathers a beloved illigitimate son, and bitter jealousy causes a destructive rift between the two half-brothers which will lead to death. Through birth and death, love and hatred, triumph and heartbreak, the Morlands continue proudly to claim their place amongst England's aristocracy."

My Review: 

From the beginning of The Dark Rose, it is quite clear that intense jealousy and hatred runs deep within the Morland family, and through the generations, revenge has played a significant roll in the molding of this dynamic dynasty. Following closely the lives of Paul and Nanette Morland, we are given a close retelling of the turmoil during Henry VIII's reign, both within the court and at the Morland estate. 

Having bypassed the first novel in this series, I was curious at to whether or not I would be missing some important background information about the Morlands. Thankfully, after reading the first few chapters, I found myself quite at ease with the family history and could feel the plights of the current generation with great understanding.

This novel was a bit up and down with its intensity. Most of the book was a steady flow of events that did not seem to have much purpose, but there were a few moments of great drama and shock which kept the book interesting. Knowing Tudor history quite well, I was surprised that Nanette's life at court seemed to be rather dull. If the chaotic times of King Henry VIII's reign would have been used a bit more, I think it would have helped make the novel move at a faster pace and increased the plots intrigue.

Overall, this lengthy book captured my attention just enough to entice me to pursue the series further. I would suggest this book to someone who may not know a lot about Tudor England and want's a preview of the turbulent reign of King Henry VIII.

FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always, these are my own honest opinions.

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.


Mystica said...

I've just finished one book set during the Tudor reign but this sounds completely different and just another aspect of this turbulent period. Sounds good.

Marg said...

I just read the fourth book in the series and thought it was really good. Really looking forward to the next one which is going to be set in the court of Charles II which is one of my favourite eras to read about.

Blodeuedd said...

Perhaps better that it was rather dull for her so she didn't loose her head ;)
Anyway, nice review, I read this one years ago, can't remember a thing

Jenny Girl said...

Good review Svea! Nice catch on court life being dull. I hadn't relized that before. I did not like this one as much, but will continue on with the series as well.

Laura's Reviews said...

Good review! I just read this book myself last month. I enjoyed it, but I really liked the first book in the series (The Founding) the best so far. I can't wait to read number 3 as it is set during Elizabeth I's reign!

My review is at if you are interested.