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Pale Rose of England -- Sandra Worth

Berkley
February 2011
ISBN-10: 0425238776
ISBN-13: 978-0425238776
$15.00 U.S./$18.50 CAN.

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Pale Rose of England -- Out now from Berkely Books

The Tudors claimed Richard III murdered the little princes in the Tower of London. They also claimed Richard was a hunchback. Since the recent discovery of Richard’s body, we now know that is not true. Regarding the charge of murder, all history records is that the two little princes disappeared in the Tower. Many who lived at the time believed the younger prince survived and that he returned to challenge Henry Tudor for his rightful throne. For them, the one called “Perkin Warbeck” was that prince. PALE ROSE OF ENGLAND recounts his story, and the story of his beautiful wife, the Scottish princess Lady Catherine Gordon.

From the back cover:
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 thundered across Europe, setting royal houses ablaze with intrigue and rocking the fledgling Tudor dynasty. Stepping finally onto English soil, Catherine arrives at the island of Saint Michael’s Mount, along with her husband and young son Dickon, their second child already on the way. With the keen support of Scotland’s King James IV, Richard—known in England as Perkin Warbeck—has come to reclaim his rightful crown from Henry Tudor. Based on a prophecy given Catherine by a seer that she would be loved by a king, she has no doubt Richard will succeed in his quest. But rather than assuming the throne she believed was their destiny, Catherine would soon be prisoner of King Henry VII, and her beloved husband would, unimaginably, be stamped as an imposter.

Nothing could shake Catherine’s belief in Richard and her loyalty to the man she loved. She became a favored lady-in-waiting to the queen, Elizabeth of York, but her dazzling beauty only brought her unwanted affections from a jealous king and enmeshed her in a terrifying royal love triangle. With her husband facing execution for treason, Catherine, alone in the glittering but deadly Tudor Court, finds the courage to spurn a cruel monarch and shape her own destiny, winning the admiration of a nation.

Pale Rose of England finaled in the RT Reviewers Choice Award and received Honorable Mention in the Great Southeast Book Festival.

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reviews

“Worth’s study of the rise of Plantagenet England through the War of the Roses moves into one of the most intriguing and scrutinized aspects of history. Did Edward’s son Richard die in the Tower? Through the eyes of Richard aka Perkin Warbeck’s wife, 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.”  RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2/ Stars

“5 stars/5 powerfully intoxicating! Another smashing novel to add to the list of hot historical fiction releases of 2011.”  Historically Obsessed

“Awash in murder, romance and the excesses of ruthless royal power, Pale Rose of England races along unfolding a tale that cries out to be told. Written with grace and heart, it is at once tender and terrifying. This is a book I love, a story I wish I had written myself.”  —Robin Maxwell, bestselling author of Signora da Vinci

“[A] lot of research went into this magnificent novel.... gloriously presented.... Another Perfect 10 by Sandra Worth.”  —Jani Brooks, Romance Reviews Today

“Out of the shadows of history, Sandra Worth has crafted a fascinating, vivid tale of a woman whose courageous love for her husband plunged her into the tumult and deception of early Tudor England.”  —C.W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

“It is hard to say how much I loved this novel within the space of a short blurb. Fascinating ... The world of violent storms on rocky coasts, monasteries, gardens, and the court is so real you can touch it, as are the people from monarchs to serving maids.”  —Stephanie Cowell, winner of the American Book Award and author of Claude and Camille

excerpt


Prologue

Cornwall, England, September 25, 1497

Pain washed over Catherine in waves of unrelenting agony. She heard herself moan. Where was she, and where was she going, she wanted to ask, but only dull cries issued from her lips. She tried to open her eyes, but her lids felt like stones.

“Bury—” voices whispered. “Bury—make haste to bury—make haste—”

Was she dead? Would they bury her while she still breathed, or did she merely imagine that she lived? Help me—save me—Almighty Lord of Heaven! Forgive me my transgressions

Muffled sobbing came to her, then faded away. She grew aware of the soft chanting of monks. Their song lent her solace, for she knew that wherever she was, it could not be Hell.

“She is full of beauty, even now, even like this,” someone said.

“She has the beauty o’ an angel, though her hair be black as raven’s feathers” Another voice. “God have mercy on her.”

“Of late, ’tis of a pale rose that she makes me think,” a man said sadly. “A pale rose, in a bitter winter’s wind . . .”

The murmurs died away, and the chanting grew louder. Catherine felt raindrops caress her brow. The spasms in her belly faded. Blissful oblivion engulfed her, and she drifted away into the darkness.

When she opened her eyes, a blur of shadows, flames, and arches filled her vision. Church bells chimed the quarter hour, and somewhere a shutter creaked on a hinge as it banged in the wind. A sudden pain made her cry out. She tried to rise and fell back on a rough mattress. A gentle hand settled on her shoulder.

“Nay, child, do not exert yourself,” a voice said. “You are very weak. What you need is rest.” A white wimple framed the wrinkled face, and a large wooden crucifix hung across her black robes.

A nun, thought Catherine. “Where am I?” she whispered. Words required effort, and the nun had to lean close to hear.

“St. Buryan Church, my child. You are safe, for it has the privilege of sanctuary that the Mount does not.”

“Sanctuary?” Catherine managed. Why did she need sanctuary? She grasped the nun’s hand when another spasm seized her, and tried to lift her head.

“You must not strain yourself. ’Tis too early for the babe to come.”

The babe. How could she have forgotten? She dropped back heavily. Church bells began to toll for compline, stirring a vague memory. All at once her mind cleared. “Where is my son?” she cried in a panic, clutching the nun’s sleeve. “Where is my bairn—my Dickon—”

“Fret not, he is safe. Your ladies keep watch over him.”

“I want to see him—I need to see him.”

“He shall be brought to you.”

“What of my lord husband? Has he sent tidings?”

The nun averted her gaze. “All in good time, my child.” She smoothed the girl’s hair back from her brow.

“Is he—did he . . .” She couldn’t finish the dread thought.

“We know nothing. Nothing for sure. Yet.”

“Why am I here, Sister?” Catherine gasped.

“Your lord husband requested that you—” The nun broke off. “He requested that you be transferred here from St. Michael’s Mount—” Again that hesitation. Softly, she added, “In case matters do not go as hoped.”

Even in her condition, Catherine knew that she was not hearing the full truth. She turned her mind back to St. Michael’s Mount.

St. Michael’s Mount.

She closed her eyes.

 

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