#bookreview – Pale Rose of England – by Sandra Worth

Fans of British historical fiction will love this one. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.
RoseHere is beautifully told, suspenseful novel about a little known figure in English history – Catherine Gordon. A renowned beauty and cousin to King James IV of Scotland, Catherine marries a controversial figure — the man who claims to be Richard, Duke of York — one of the two famous princes (sons of King Edward IV of England) imprisoned in the Tower of London. Richard claims he was rescued, raised in obscurity, and now, backed by many European monarchs, is committed to reclaiming his rightful throne from the usurper, King Henry VII. Unfortunately, Richard and Catherine are young, idealistic, and naive — unprepared for the paranoia, ruthlessness and brutality of Henry VII. (He definitely becomes that villain you will love to hate.)
As the author writes in the book’s afterward, little factual knowledge exists about Catherine Gordon. But, in Sandra Worth’s hands, that provides a wonderful opportunity to create. And Worth’s Catherine is a fully fleshed out woman — deeply in love with her husband, committed to his cause, and struggling to navigate the devious politics of Henry VII’s court, all the time deeply wary of the lustful glances coming from the Henry himself. It’s a wonderful story full of plots and double dealings.
It’s also a wonderful opportunity to observe the life of a noble woman of high birth in the late 1400s and early 1500s. And the stringent limitations of her power in a medieval world so fully controlled by men. Like nearly all women of the time, we learn about important historical events, more from the sidelines that from direct participation — like the bloody Battle of Culloden, the famous Field of Gold gathering with France’s King Francois I, and Henry’s VIII’s struggle for a divorce from Katherine of Aragon.
This is a winner! Lovers of historical fiction will enjoy getting under the skin of Catherine Gordon and the life she led during one of the most interesting and perilous periods of English history.

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