Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth

Title: Pale Rose of England
Author: Sandra Worth

Genre: Fiction (Historical / late 15th century English)
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley Publishing Group (2/1/2011)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Rating: Love loved.
Did I finish?: Yes - you couldn't stop me!
One-sentence summary: The loves and losses of 15th century Scottish noblewoman, Catherine Gordon.
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: YES!  It's super striking!  It's a coincidence, I presume, but the image is William Frederick Yeames's imagining of Amy (Robsart) Dudley, a woman meaningful to Elizabeth I, the granddaughter of this novel's 'villain', Henry VII.

I'm reminded of...: Susan Holloway Scott, Anya Seton, Sandra Gulland.

First line: Pain washed over Catherine in waves of unrelenting agony.

Did... I wish Worth was less historically accurate at times?: YES. Worth had me invested by the first chapter and I was just willing history to capitulate to Catherine and Richard's happiness.

Did... I develop a crush on Richard Plantagenet/Perkin Warbeck?: YES.  As a rule, royals don't usually do it for me but Worth's Richard was romantically tragic in such a delicious way!

Did... I like Catherine?: YES.  That might seem a weird question, but I often find preternaturally gorgeous heroine a pill, their beauty being their primary reason for anyone liking them, but in this case, Worth made a vibrant heroine out of Catherine Gordon.

Why did I get this book?: Honestly, the cover totally grabbed me, and by the time I finished reading the plot summary, I knew I had to have it!

Review: This is the kind of historical novel that reminds me why I love the genre.  It's meaty, it's exciting, it's engrossing, it's romantic, it's chilling, and it's absolutely un-put-down-able.  This era (reign of Henry VII) is one I'm wholly unfamiliar with but Worth sets up the story and characters so well, I didn't find myself lost or confused or in need of an encyclopedia.

The novel tells the story of Catherine Gordon, a Scottish noblewoman who is married to the man said to be the true King of England, Richard Plantagenet/Perkin Warbeck, even though he is branded an imposter by the reigning monarch, Henry VII.  The plot covered in this novel is exciting enough, but I found Worth's characters to be so interesting and real, I cared about all of them -- even the horrible Henry VII.

The romantic, clearly loving marriage between Catherine and Richard anchored the story for me; in an era when (I imagine) love matches were rare, Worth's depiction of these two made me fall in love with them -- and made me deeply invested in the survival of their marriage and family.  At many times, I wished Worth would just lie and give me a few chapters of their bucolic happiness in a country estate, I liked them so much.  This novel, however, encompasses so much more than just their marriage, and is really about Catherine Gordon -- not the Tudors nor Perkin Warbeck.

Worth's skill as an author really shows in the development of Catherine.  I imagine it must be challenging to imagining a historical figure wholly and envision why they responded or acted the way they did in a way that remains true to history and true to the author's conception of them.  Worth's Catherine is a complicated woman who responds to the circumstances around her and does what she deems most moral and true to herself, and I found I genuinely liked her (even if I didn't agree with her opinions or life choices).

I can't recommend this novel enough -- I just loved it and resented having to work rather than read!  And, happily, Worth has published five other books for me to go back and devour while I wait for her newest! 

**** **** ***


Come back on April 21st for a guest post from the author, Sandra Worth, and a chance to win a copy of Pale Rose of England.

Comments

  1. Wow, you're enthusiasm for this book has me excited.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You sure liked it :D
    I wanted to read this one when I read what it was about. I had never even head about her

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have read about this elsewhere as well. Everyone is most enthusiastic. Thats a beautiful cover as well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good to hear you liked it :D I've read some mixed reviews about it and haven't have good luck with this author before. I'm still thinking if I should try this.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love it when historical fiction is done well, and by the sound of it, this one was done very well. I am caught up in your enthusiasm and really want to try this one out for myself now. Thanks for the fantastic review!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, a wonderful review of what sounds like a fantastic book. I've been on a reading run of good historical novels lately, and I'm definitely going to add this to my TBR list. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, my gosh! I LOVE this review .. totally ... the book must be awesome and it's going right on my to-buy list!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've read very little historical fiction about the royals, but this sounds fantastic! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

To Join the Lost by Seth Steinzor

The Art of Escapism Cooking by Mandy Lee

National Geographic's Visual Galaxy

The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott