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Pale Rose of England

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,282 ratings  ·  80 reviews
From the award-winning author of The King's Daughter comes a story of love and defiance during the War of the Roses.

It is 1497. The news of the survival of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, has set royal houses ablaze with intrigue and rocked the fledgling Tudor dynasty. With the support of Scotland's King James IV, Richard-known to most of England as Perkin Warbeck-has
Paperback, 450 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Berkley Books
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  1,282 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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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 a ...more
Amy Bruno
I’ve got one word for Sandra Worth’s new novel Pale Rose of England – PHENOMENAL! At times heartwarming and at others heart wrenching, this novel runs the gamut of emotions and magnificently details the lives of Catherine Gordon and the man whose identity was at the heart of one of the biggest controversies in England’s history.

Whether Perkin Warbeck was in fact the lost prince in the tower is a mystery which may never be solved. Worth’s belief that the man who returned to England in 1495 callin
Hannah Elizabeth
Nov 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
So, Perkin Warbeck really was the Duke of York? I wonder how the (Ricardian)author feels about the letter Warbeck wrote to Isabella of Castile in which he detailed his life story; about how his "unnatural uncle", Richard of Gloucester, murdered his older brother (King Edward V, and delivered him (Wabreck) to the home of an unnamed Nobleman to be dispatched in similar fashion. Funnily enough that letter, in which the blame for the deaths of the Princes is laid directly at Richard III's feet, is t ...more
May 26, 2010 rated it it was ok

I read this novel because I wanted to find out more about Catherine Gordon but was very disappointed because this book was more sugary, candy floss romance (and it didn't even do that very well) than informative historical fiction. What "facts" were included were questionable at best and ridiculous at worst, because the authors obvious bias and Yorkist agenda were clearly visible.

Only read this book if you like your historical fiction pink and fluffy, and you don't mind if the characters you ar
Aug 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: incomplete
This may have been good, but I just couldn't read it. It did nothing to get my attention to make me want to try harder. I started getting an ache in my eye.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Audra (Unabridged Chick) by: Amy Bruno
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 Englan
Natalie Grueninger
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
To say that I really enjoyed this book is an understatement. The truth is it’s an extraordinary story – moving, intriguing, confronting, inspiring and beautifully written.

The protagonist, Lady Catherine Gordon, is strong and courageous in the face of gut-wrenching tragedy. Her unquestionable loyalty to her first husband and her ability to move forward in the pursuit of happiness, when most would have crumbled, make her fascinating and inspiring.

So involved was I in Catherine’s plight that scenes
Regina Lindsey
Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth
3 Stars

History holds a number of fascinating mysteries. One of those deals with the fate of Edward IV's sons. Were they murdered in the Tower? If so, by whom? Their Uncle Richard? The future Tudor King, Henry VII? Duke of Buckingham? Or.....did they actually survive? Worth take the position that Perkin Warbeck was indeed the youngest son - that young Richard survived, matured, and married Catherine Gordon, niece to King James of Scotland.

Worth states in her A
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
loved this book. it has everything i ever wanted: elizabeth of york (even if for just a few pages), plantagenet princesses, early tudor england and, of course, richard of shrewsbury. i like the author's theory, i think the pretender really was richard or half europe wouldn't have backed him up -- it just wouldn't make sense for so many kings to support his claim if he were just a boatman's son.

i loved everything about this book; maybe the first 80/90 pages are a little too slow but that's under
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
I thought Anne Easter Smith abused the word "'tis"—that was before I read this. The first part of the book could have been interesting, had it been paced differently & began at a different point in time. The second half drags horribly so, & I never could warm to Catherine Gordon; I felt very much unattached to her all throughout. Disappointing, as I had been expecting a lot more. ...more
Ashley Hoffman
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I found this book oddly calming. I enjoyed the entire text, but my favorite part was the small section of author commentary at the end. It makes you appreciate the amount of work that goes into a historical fiction, but also lets you see, quite transparently, the amount of imagination that can be employed as well.
In the late 1400s/early 1500s, Perkin Warbeck claimed to be the rightful King of England. He claimed he was actually Richard IV, who had been imprisoned in the Tower of London as a boy with his older brother. It was thought that both young princes died in the Tower, but there was a rumour that Richard had escaped.

In this novel, told mostly from the point of view of Richard's wife, Catherine, the two of them come to England from Scotland (where she was royalty) with their son, intending on claim
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donna Gavin
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book about Lady Catherine Gordon. She lead a fascinating life and overcame tremendous obstacles. It was heartening to learn that she did find love later in her life. The book is very well written and it made me want to learn more about Catherine Gordon and Perkin Warbeck.
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Another smashing novel to add to the list of hot historical fiction releases of 2011. “Pale Rose of England” is a prime example of why I love historical fiction so much. The lovely Sandra has always been one of my favorites, ever since my husband gave me “The Kings Daughter” for Christmas I have followed Sandra in her releases. I was ecstatic when I found out she was going to be releasing a new novel. What is most appealing about this novel is for once it is a heroine that I do not know every de ...more
Heather C
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
This story takes on a unique subject in the genre of historical fiction – that of the quest of Richard, Duke of York to reclaim his throne, but he is known to the world as Perkin Warbeck, the pretender to the throne. I love when authors take on a subject that has very rarely been written about. In my opinion, Sandra Worth does Richard much justice. He was just waiting for the right author to come along and write his story. Her writing style really allows you to connect with Richard and uncover h ...more
Jean V. Naggar Literary
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“Worth's study...moves into one of the most intriguing and scrutinized aspects of history...Through the eyes of...Lady Catherine Gordon, the rebellion takes on new light. Worth creates a love story amidst war, a history filled with glorious people and an unforgettable female character who triumphs when others fail; whose faith and love move a king and who has been lost to history until now.” --Romantic Times, 4 ½ stars

“5 stars out of 5. Powerfully intoxicating! Another smashing novel.” --Histori
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I knew a little about the tale of "the pretender" Perkin Warbeck before I read this wonderful novel but after I wanted to know more. I love a book that sends me researching. This tale of Lady Catherine Gordon and the alleged son of Richard Plantagenet will steal your heart. It is so very sad. Was Perkin Warbeck one of the Princes in the Tower? We will never really know for sure but after reading this book I am convinced.

The story is really about Lady Catherine as her life went on for many years
Lisa Bass
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I know, I say this about virtually every book I have read; but, I truly enjoyed Pale Rose of England. I have just recently read Alison Weir's book, The Princes in the Tower and was ALMOST convinced that neither of Edward IV's sons survived their stay in The Tower, when Richard III took the English throne. However, after reading the Pale Rose of England, and the manner in which Sandra Worth presents the lives of Catherine Gordon and Richard ("Perkin") Duke of York, I believe the younger prince ma ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this a very interesting British historical fiction read centered on the life story of Lady Catherine Gordon and her husband, who claims to be Richard Plantagenet, one of the two princes of England taken to the Tower of London. When he comes out of hiding, after missing for years, Richard struggles to prove his identity and assert his rightful position. Be sure to read the author's notes providing her historical support and reasoning for Richard's identity at the end. Although the story o ...more
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have always heard the prince was not who he said he was. It's a great mystery no one will really be able to tell us what is truth and what is myth. I enjoyed the book for that main reason and to learn more about Catherine. She truly believed who Richard was and loved him until her death. Even though she married 3 times after, she still held a spot in her life just for him. Sandra writes as if she lived in the same era. The descriptions are so detailed you can easily imagine yourself sitting be ...more
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sandra Worth has become one of my favorite historical fiction authors. Once again she manages to capture my interest in a period of English history I thought would never interest me. This was an excellent and engaging read.
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it
For a review check my blog! :)
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Here 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 th ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is about the story of Catherine Gordon and Richard, Duke of York. Both the main characters were married in Scotland by King James and their journey begins when they return to England to claim Richard legal throne. However, at that point of time Richard did not have enough army or the skill needed to win wars and fail miserably to King Henry VII.

The tudors were ruthless and was tough on Richard which made him lose his family and also made him witness the hardship his wife and son went t
This has been sitting on my TBR shelf for the longest time because it took me forever to find a copy. I'm glad I finally discovered this gem at my used bookstore because this was a fantastic book. It brought an entirely new perspective to the reign of Henry VII, that of Catherine Gordon, the Scottish royal wed to Richard Plantagenet/Perkin Warbeck. In every other book I've read, the Richard/Perkin dilemma is addressed from the perspective of the Tudor court but seeing it from the other side was ...more
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tudor-fiction

Interesting, in this version the premise is that Perkin Warbeck, a pretender to the Tudor throne, was, in fact, really, no doubt, the lost prince, Richard, Duke of York, and we follow all the joys and sorrows that brings to his wife, the lady Catherine Gordon.

The story follows Catherine Gordon's life and all the many husbands she had and wannabe lovers she had to fend off, and the ups and downs she went through because of the Tudors. It does a great job showing the details of the time period, a
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
The second half was a little slow, and had lots of descriptive filler.
However, the first half was excellent - a fascinating view of the woman who married the man who claimed to be the last Prince of York. There is a theory, supported by some historical evidence, that the last of the two princes of York was not murdered. The youngest was spirited away, and was a threat to Henry VII for the throne of England.
Tudor Book Blog
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
A The Tudor Book Blog Review(


This novel is set during the reign of Henry VII. It follows Catherine and Richard (Perkin Warbeck) as they attempt to seize the English throne. Richard claims to be Richard, Duke of York, the youngest of the Princes in the Tower. Catherine, the daughter of a Scottish noble and cousin to King James, marries Richard and, after his defeat, joins the English court as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth. The novel follows Catheri
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very little is known about Lady Catherine Gordon of Scotland, married to a man who claimed to be the rightful heir to the English throne. We know she was beautiful. We know King Henry VII — whose throne her husband claimed was his — became obsessed with her from the moment he first saw her and remained so until the day he died. And we know the only 10 words ever attributed to her, when Henry was trying to make her renounce her husband: 'It is the man, and not the king, I love.'
That makes it even
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Sandra Worth is the author of six historical novels chronicling the demise of the Plantagenet dynasty in England and the rise of the Tudors. She is the winner of numerous awards and prizes, including three Reviewers Choice Awards. For more info, visit

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