The book is set in 15th Century Yorkshire, while the Wars of the Roses are still being waged. Alice, in her early twenties, lives alone in a small, remote valley in a shepherd's shelter and small cave. Her life changes completely when she finds a young child alone, beside the body of a woman, and takes the child home with her. The story follows the simple life of Alice, Cissy and their friends. There are further upheavals when, after three years, Alice learns through a local priest, that an important man, who may be Cissy's father, is searching for his child. Deep religious faith, love, treachery, good and evil all combine to reveal not only Cissy's background but also Alice's own history and future.
Pauline Donaldson was brought up in the County of Yorkshire and is familiar with its rocky hills and gentler dales, where there are many castles, ruined abbeys and monasteries. She is interested in the major part that the Christian Church played in people's lives historically. She has written poetry and stories for children, but ‘Wild Rose' is her first venture into historical or romantic novels. Writing has always been a part-time occupation. She has worked as an administrator, mainly in higher education. With her husband, three sons and five grandchildren, family life is very important but she has a keen interest in plants and gardens, and also plays the church organ.