Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Historical Fiction Book Tours Review: The Secret Keeper

Author: Sandra Byrd
Title: The Secret Keeper: A Novel Of Kateryn Parr
Publisher: Howard Books
Publish Date: June 5, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Historical Fiction Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb:Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father's business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn Parr.

Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his concerns with Juliana's father's estate and sees instantly that Juliana would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in Parr's household for "finishing" and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly.

For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king's daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.
As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII's court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will undo everything she holds dear.  
  The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr
Review: After reading last year's To Die For, I knew I had a favorite author in Sandra Byrd, and I wasn't wrong. When I dove into The Secret Keeper, I found it hard to put down. Sandra Byrd truly brings the Tudor period to life. But she does more than that too, she brings his last wife, Kateryn Parr to life.

Kate is not one of the Queens that gets a lot of time spent on her. She is simply the Queen that managed to outlive Henry. (And she was lucky to do that, considering her religious views). Kate was a highly intelligent woman, generous and kind, as well as being a loving step-mother to the children of her husbands, including the king.

The one thing about Kate that made me wonder about her, is her attachment to Thomas Seymour, who, let's face it, wasn't a nice guy. When in their care, he abused Lady Elizabeth. He also has a personal connection with Lady Julianna, who is our heroine. We see her as she starts working for Kate when she's Lady Latimer and that continues on as she becomes Henry's final Queen and even onto her brief marriage to Seymour.

Kate treats Julianna like her child and Julianna blossoms.

But there is more to the story than just Kate and Henry. Julianna suffers abuse at court and tries to flee from her shame, but the Queen calls her back.

The most interesting thing in the book is Lady Mary Seymour, Queen Kateryn's daughter by Thomas Seymour. Her life, however long or short is shrouded in mystery. Know one knows what happened to her, and there's no record of her death, so Sandra can use some creativity to explain her disappearance from the world stage.

I love Sandra's writing style. If you are a fan of Phillipa Gregory, you have to read one of Sandra's books. They aren't as lengthy as Gregory's and she writes with less bias, which allows you to understand the characters better.

I can't wait to read the third book!

Rating: 5 flowers

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About Sandra Byrd

Sandra Byrd has published more than three dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including the first book in her Tudor series, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. Her second book, The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, illuminates the mysteries in the life of Henry's last wife.

For more than a decade Sandra has shared her secrets with the many new writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband and two children. For more Tudor tidbits, please visit


sandra byrd said...

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing, Andrea! I appreciate you!

Sara Kovach said...

This is such an AWESOME book. I recently read and reviewed it myself!!!

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