Misfit's Reviews > Pale Rose of England

Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth
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Mar 13, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: get-it-from-the-library, skimmed-a-lot, not-my-cuppa-tea, historical-fiction-lite
Read from March 10 to 12, 2011

History tells us that a young man known as Perkin Warbeck claimed to be the son of Edward IV, one of the lost princes in the tower and the rightful King of England. Supported by his *aunt* Margaret of Burgundy, he eventually came to Scotland and obtained support from King James in his efforts to invade England and regain his *lawful* crown. James gave *Richard* the hand of Lady Catherine Gordon, and she accompanied him during his second attempt to invade England, which was just as unsuccessful as the first. Was Perkin really Richard Duke of York and England's rightful king, or was he a great pretender? We'll never know.

Worth begins her novel in 1497 at the start of Richard's campaign in Cornwall, which quickly peters out as he is unable to rally support among the populace. Captured by Henry Tudor's men, they are brought to court and kept on slim leashes and Richard and Catherine play a very tense game of cat and mouse whilst trying to keep their heads intact. Catherine fares a bit better as she's taken into Queen Elizabeth's household, but Richard's every move is watched and members of the Tudor court take turns spitting on him and tossing rotten vegetables (thus showing us how awful they all are). Meantime, mean ole' Henry has taken one look at the beauteous Catherine, goes into immediate lust mode and determines to have her for his very own. Not quite sure what he planned to do about Queen Elizabeth but oh well...

Potential readers should be warned that Worth believes Perkin/Richard is the true son of Edward IV, no ifs ands or butts about it. In case you doubt it, we are constantly reminded about his princely bearing and the drooping Plantagenet eye he's inherited from his ancestors Edward I and Henry III. I don't know about you, but I had a hard time swallowing that anyone, whether it be courtier or lowly priest, is up enough on intimate details of the royal family going back that far in time - Edward I (17 June 1239 - 7 July 1307) and Henry III (1 October 1207 - 16 November 1272) - to remember the drooping Plantagenet eye. That's a whole lot of generations between them and Richard and I can't find any others having it. Just sayin'.



As for Richard and Catherine, I didn't pick up on much chemistry between the two. They were married and had one child by the time the book begins, and the back-history of their courtship filled out as the story progresses. We know that they love each other because we are told they did, but I really didn't pick up on any grand passion between the two. I did pick up on a lot of purity, perfection and absolute sugar-coated sweetness on Catherine's part, and while Richard might have the bearing of a true king, he sure didn't have a strong nature to go with it. He was kinda (sic) wimpish IMHO but Catherine sure thought he was the cat's meow,

"Clad in a white silk doublet, a furred cape around his shoulders, and a beaver hat on his sunny hair, Richard, Duke of York, cantered in on a pale war-horse, a hand resting on his hip, a smile on his lips. She gasped; he was the handsomest man she had ever seen."



And to offset all that purity and goodness is the baddest most evil mean nasty awful bad guy ever - Henry Tudor.



Honestly, every one in this book is either black or white, there are very few shades of gray to be found here. I think it's obvious I wasn't as enamoured of this book as some of the other reviewers and to each his own when choosing a book, but this one was just a bit too fluffy for my tastes. I was very disappointed that we didn't get a closer look at Elizabeth and what one would expect to be very conflicted emotions - how do you choose between your brother or your son? I was going to give this book an overall three star rating until the latter third covering Catherine's later years threatened to put me to sleep (she spends lots and lots of time in the country).

One final note and that is on two items in the author's notes:

1) "English novelist Philippa Gregory, who holds a doctorate in history...". Erm, a simple bit of Google tells me it's English Lit. The historian myth continues.

2) Her reason for sending Richard to his execution via boat instead of how it really happened, "I plead artistic license in not documenting this last indignity and in depicting him as being taken partway by boat. This unfortunate young man had already endured deplorable degradation, and I felt no need to add more such instances to the reader's burden."

I for one could have handled that additional burden.

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Reading Progress

03/10 page 20
4.0% "This early and already the alarm is going off on the glucose meter...."
03/10 page 40
9.0% "[image error]" 1 comment
03/11 page 75
17.0% "" 5 comments
03/11 page 83
18.0% "Catherine's smile widened into one of such sweetness as she gazed upon her child, that it peirced the abbot to the heart and he whispered a prayer for her under his breath."" 3 comments
03/11 page 107
24.0% ""Imposing it was, and set like a jewel on the south bank of the Thames with a lovely view along the river, but it boded her no good, this lair of the monster that had usurped Richard's throne and torn her babe from her arms. Her roving eye caught on Tudor's shield...She felt a vague tremor and cast down her eyes as they trotted over the moat and into the great court.""
03/11 page 110
24.0% ""Animals moved thus; bears who had been blinded and were about to be set upon by dogs for spot, and slaves who had lost every human right and breathed at the will of their captors. When there were no more tugs, she knew she had reached the dais. Only then did she look up. She saw that Elizabeth the Queen wore an expression of sorrow, and that a tear glistened in the corner of her eye." ***Oh sniff***"
03/12 page 142
32.0% ""He had no wish to kill the young man...no wish to hurt Catherine. He had no wish to love her, either, but he did. He could not deny he hoped for her love one day, but if he killed the one she cared for, would she ever forgive him?""
03/12 page 188
42.0% "Henry has an extravagent gown made for Catherine with a matching cloak for himself."
03/12 page 380
84.0% "" 12 comments
06/23 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-29 of 29) (29 new)

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message 1: by Elysium (new)

Elysium How is it so far? Haven't had good luck with this author.


Misfit Elysium wrote: "How is it so far? Haven't had good luck with this author."

Not going well. Very sugary sweet so far. I was curious, plus I have a challenge I'm in with a Play it again category and I thought I'd try her again.


message 3: by Rio (Lynne) (new)

Rio (Lynne) Good to know. I was considering trying her again.


message 4: by Elysium (new)

Elysium Misfit wrote: "Not going well. Very sugary sweet so far. I was curious, plus I have a challenge I'm in with a Play it again category a..."

Guess I'll skip this one. Sounds like it's not any better than before.


message 5: by the_cat (new)

the_cat Here is an author I dont plan to give a 2nd chance to.


Misfit the_cat wrote: "Here is an author I dont plan to give a 2nd chance to."

Wise move, I'm beginning to regret it already. It will be over soon.


message 7: by Karla (new)

Karla At least you gave her a second try - it's only fair to do so. Sometimes it's still a disappointment. That was the way with me and the 2 Elizabeth Chadwick books I tried. Although I'm sure her research is spot-on, it was the writing style that failed to light my fire. My one experience with Sandra Worth's books is that it's biased research combined with YA-grade storytelling. Double fail.

But I'll give her a second try with that ancient-set thingy she's working on, whatever it may be. If it's the Trojan War, God help my walls. If the black & white personality divisions persist, I'm sure Agamemnon will eat babies for breakfast.


message 8: by Karla (new)

Karla So how does The Wrong Plantagenet stack up against this one?


Misfit Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "So how does The Wrong Plantagenet stack up against this one?"

No comparison, TWP is by far a better book, but that's not saying much :P

Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "At least you gave her a second try - it's only fair to do so. Sometimes it's still a disappointment. That was the way with me and the 2 Elizabeth Chadwick books I tried. Although I'm sure her resea..."

There are just times when an author isn't going to work for everyone. Cecelia Holland a prime example. Rarely have I seen so many members of HFO so drawn down the middle on her - love her or not (like me). That does happen and we have to respect that.

Worth is most definitely biased I'll grant you that.


message 10: by Jewel (new)

Jewel Totally not related to this, but I thought I should tell you that with the iPhone app update, now we can't see the spoilers!!
Don't worry about leaving a note anymore.

So that's cool, unless I really wanted to see them??!!


Misfit Jewel wrote: "Totally not related to this, but I thought I should tell you that with the iPhone app update, now we can't see the spoilers!!
Don't worry about leaving a note anymore.

So that's cool, unless I rea..."


Oh, thanks for letting me know that, it is appreciated.


message 12: by MAP (new)

MAP Yeah, I was mildly interested in this until I realized it was Sandra Worth.


message 13: by Rusty (new)

Rusty Interesting review Misfit! I don't think I'll include this one on my TBR list.


message 14: by Jill (new)

Jill Finally got around to reading your review. Thankyou Misfit. I had intended to read this, just to see. But I really don't like sugary and I don't like purple. Perhaps if it was marketed more historical romance than historical fiction, I might buy into it.


Misfit Jill wrote: "Finally got around to reading your review. Thankyou Misfit. I had intended to read this, just to see. But I really don't like sugary and I don't like purple. Perhaps if it was marketed more histori..."

Problem is, there's not enough romance in it to appeal to the romance market.


message 16: by Jill (new)

Jill Misfit wrote: "Jill wrote: "Finally got around to reading your review. Thankyou Misfit. I had intended to read this, just to see. But I really don't like sugary and I don't like purple. Perhaps if it was marketed..."

Okay then, maybe just marketed as "fiction"?


Misfit Probably. I still want to know why my review wasn't trumpted on her FB page like all the gushy ones were :D


message 18: by Rio (Lynne) (new)

Rio (Lynne) Have you seen this movie? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0462488/ "Princes In The Tower?" I just watched it. Since we can't find a good book on the subject of Perkin, rent this. I really enjoyed it. Fascinating!


Misfit Rio wrote: "Have you seen this movie? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0462488/ "Princes In The Tower?" I just watched it. Since we can't find a good book on the subject of Perkin, rent this. I really enjoyed it. ..."

Thanks for that, I'll look it up.


message 20: by Rio (Lynne) (new)

Rio (Lynne) I Netflixed it.


Jemidar Yes, that was interesting wasn't it? Although I don't personally believe that Margaret Beaufort was responsible for the Princes' death, the program made a good case for Perkin being an impostor which I believe he more than likely was.


Jemidar BTW, if you want a good non-fiction book on Perkin Warbeck, I've been told this one is the way to go The Perkin Warbeck Conspiracy 1491-1499 (Sutton Illustrated History Paperbacks) by Ian Arthurson. The other thing that recommends it, is the fact that Sandra Worth did not list it in her bibliography :-).


message 23: by Rio (Lynne) (new)

Rio (Lynne) I thought it was interesting to see Sir Thomas More's side (his early career.)


Misfit The whole lost princes thing is such a fascinating topic and one we'll probably never solve. It's a bit dry, but Marian Palmer's The Wrong Plantagenet was a fairly good read. It is a sequel to The White Boar.


message 25: by Karla (new)

Karla The only way we'll get an definitive answer is via time travel. Now that's an interesting premise: Sandra Worth goes back in time to see for herself....but what if there's a nasty surprise in store for her?

Question:
Does she help R3 hide the bodies?


Misfit Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "The only way we'll get an definitive answer is via time travel. Now that's an interesting premise: Sandra Worth goes back in time to see for herself....but what if there's a nasty surprise in store..."

I think she would help hide them :D


message 27: by Karla (last edited Mar 23, 2011 10:01AM) (new)

Karla I think you could bet on it! :D And she'd be casting blame at everybody else to divert and distract.


message 28: by Alycia (new) - added it

Alycia Wonderful review Misfit!


Misfit Thank you.


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