The Secret Keeper

( 12 )

Overview

The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII, as a young woman is caught between love and honor.

What she sees in secret, she may not tell.
Mistress Juliana St. John is the lovely, forthright daughter of a prosperous knight’s family. Though all expect her to marry the son of her late father’s business partner, time and chance interrupt, sending her to the sumptuous but deceptive court of Henry ...

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The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr

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Overview

The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII, as a young woman is caught between love and honor.

What she sees in secret, she may not tell.
Mistress Juliana St. John is the lovely, forthright daughter of a prosperous knight’s family. Though all expect her to marry the son of her late father’s business partner, time and chance interrupt, sending her to the sumptuous but deceptive court of Henry VIII.
Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane, returns to Wiltshire to conclude his affairs with Juliana’s father’s estate and chances upon her reading as lector in the local church. He sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves and wants most to please, Kateryn Parr. Juliana’s mother agrees to have her placed with Parr for a season and Juliana goes, though reluctantly.
For she keeps a secret.
As Juliana accompanies Kateryn Parr to court, Henry’s devout sixth queen raises the stakes for all reformers. Support of firebrand Anne Askew puts the queen and her ladies in life-threatening jeopardy, as does the queen’s desire to influence her husband’s—and the realm’s—direction and beliefs. Later, without Henry’s strong arm, the court devolves to competition, duplicity, and betrayal. The risks could not be higher as Juliana must choose between love and honor, personal fulfillment and sacrifice. Ultimately, her course is driven by a final kept secret, one that undoes everything she thought she knew.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A young woman with the gift of prophecy becomes entangled in Henry VIII’s court in this engaging novel. After her father dies, Juliana St. John is encouraged by family friend Sir Thomas Seymour to enter the household of Kateryn Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives. Juliana adjusts relatively well to her new environment, but soon she has recurring visions of Sir Thomas, her father’s former business partner, chopping up a young woman’s dress. It is only when Juliana begins to connect her dreams to the new people in her life that she discovers some startling secrets. Byrd (To Die For) crafts a well-researched historical novel that engrosses readers in Juliana’s world and the juicy details of the Tudor court. Although the prose often lapses into overly stylized Renaissance speak, Anglophiles and history buffs alike will surely enjoy this bird’s-eye view into royal politics, love, and scandal. Agent: Browne & Miller Literary Associates. (June)
Historical Novel Society
"Juliana’s character as the main protagonist is both surprisingly fresh and perfectly presented. There is much more to her than a lady’s maid, and finding out her secrets as the story unfolds is a great pleasure. Unlike many novels of this kind — which portray a fictional character in the lead — this one works very well. A female’s place in society is expanded upon, but not so much as to become monotonous and spoil the historical theme."
USA Today
"The Secret Keeper emulates the fast-paced tension of a great romantic suspense novel but relies entirely upon court intrigue to accomplish that pulse-pounding feat. Anchored by the proper but down-to-earth voice of Juliana St. John, the reader remains lip-bitingly engaged in the story and its characters even through the most mundane activities in which they take part. [...] Like its predecessor, The Secret Keeper illumines roles the royals played in the ebb and flow of the English Reformation Movement, but does so in such a suspenseful, romantic fashion that the reader is every bit as entertained as she is educated. [...] I'd be willing to wager that, come December, The Secret Keeper will find a firm ranking on many bloggers' Best Books of 2012 lists — including mine. The Secret Keeper is simply superb. It grabbed me from the start and never let go. [...] Even readers who shy away from the well-researched historical will get wrapped up in the Tudor trickery and lovely romance within this story. Byrd's tightly woven plot is laced with ever-splicing threads of intrigue that worm their way into your imagination and all but tie the book to your hands. Read it!"
Francine Rivers
“Rich in historical detail, full of intrigue, and starring a memorable heroine—Juliana St. John—who grows in both character and faith, Sandra Byrd’s The Secret Keeper kept me completely engrossed in the tumultuous court of Henry VIII. I felt a part of the times, thanks to the author’s skillful storytelling, vivid descriptions, and inspiring characters. Readers are in for a special treat with this remarkable novel.”
Jane Kirkpatrick
"'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,' wrote Elizabeth Barrett Browning long years after the Tudor period of Sandra Byrd's remarkable book, The Secret Keeper. But the poet's words come to mind often as I count the myriad ways I love this story. Exquisite attention to detail of time, language, and place. A deft creation of character voice that invites the reader in and never lets her go. A delicate suspense that keeps pages turning. And throughout, the evidence of a remarkable storyteller who moves emotions in ways that both inspire and satisfy. I fell in love with Juliana St. John and with her heart, and hope she and her secrets find the widest possible audience."
Karen Harper
"The Secret Keeper is a beautifully crafted story of heartache, love and loyalty. The reader is gifted with glimpses into the lives of many of the key characters of that day: Kateryn Parr, Thomas Seymour, and the young Elizabeth Tudor. The heroine's secrets are compelling, but the biggest secret others have kept from her changes her life. However, it is no secret that Sandra Byrd writes compelling fiction on women's trials and triumphs. Enjoy, but keep a handkerchief nearby."
From the Publisher
“Rich in historical detail, full of intrigue, and starring a memorable heroine—Juliana St. John—who grows in both character and faith, Sandra Byrd’s The Secret Keeper kept me completely engrossed in the tumultuous court of Henry VIII. I felt a part of the times, thanks to the author’s skillful storytelling, vivid descriptions, and inspiring characters. Readers are in for a special treat with this remarkable novel.”

"'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,' wrote Elizabeth Barrett Browning long years after the Tudor period of Sandra Byrd's remarkable book, The Secret Keeper. But the poet's words come to mind often as I count the myriad ways I love this story. Exquisite attention to detail of time, language, and place. A deft creation of character voice that invites the reader in and never lets her go. A delicate suspense that keeps pages turning. And throughout, the evidence of a remarkable storyteller who moves emotions in ways that both inspire and satisfy. I fell in love with Juliana St. John and with her heart, and hope she and her secrets find the widest possible audience."

"A young woman with the gift of prophecy becomes entangled in Henry VIII’s court in this engaging novel. [. . .] Byrd (To Die For) crafts a well-researched historical novel that engrosses readers in Juliana’s world and the juicy details of the Tudor court. [. . .] Anglophiles and history buffs alike will surely enjoy this bird’s-eye view into royal politics, love, and scandal."

"Juliana’s character as the main protagonist is both surprisingly fresh and perfectly presented. There is much more to her than a lady’s maid, and finding out her secrets as the story unfolds is a great pleasure. Unlike many novels of this kind — which portray a fictional character in the lead — this one works very well. A female’s place in society is expanded upon, but not so much as to become monotonous and spoil the historical theme."

"The Secret Keeper emulates the fast-paced tension of a great romantic suspense novel but relies entirely upon court intrigue to accomplish that pulse-pounding feat. Anchored by the proper but down-to-earth voice of Juliana St. John, the reader remains lip-bitingly engaged in the story and its characters even through the most mundane activities in which they take part. [...] Like its predecessor, The Secret Keeper illumines roles the royals played in the ebb and flow of the English Reformation Movement, but does so in such a suspenseful, romantic fashion that the reader is every bit as entertained as she is educated. [...] I'd be willing to wager that, come December, The Secret Keeper will find a firm ranking on many bloggers' Best Books of 2012 lists — including mine. The Secret Keeper is simply superb. It grabbed me from the start and never let go. [...] Even readers who shy away from the well-researched historical will get wrapped up in the Tudor trickery and lovely romance within this story. Byrd's tightly woven plot is laced with ever-splicing threads of intrigue that worm their way into your imagination and all but tie the book to your hands. Read it!"

"The Secret Keeper is a beautifully crafted story of heartache, love and loyalty. The reader is gifted with glimpses into the lives of many of the key characters of that day: Kateryn Parr, Thomas Seymour, and the young Elizabeth Tudor. The heroine's secrets are compelling, but the biggest secret others have kept from her changes her life. However, it is no secret that Sandra Byrd writes compelling fiction on women's trials and triumphs. Enjoy, but keep a handkerchief nearby."

"Atmospheric, dramatic and full of twists, this second title in Byrd’s 'Ladies in Waiting' series (after To Die For) is a sure bet for fans of Deborah Vogts and Tudor fiction."

Library Journal
This richly detailed historical novel is told through the eyes of Juliana St. John, lady-in-waiting to Kateryn Parr. When her husband, Lord Latimer, dies, Henry VIII marries Kateryn. Gifted with second sight, Juliana has a vision that leaves her fearing for her friend Sir Thomas Seymour, the king's daughter, and others at court. VERDICT Atmospheric, dramatic and full of twists, this second title in Byrd's "Ladies in Waiting" series (after To Die For) is a sure bet for fans of Deborah Vogts and Tudor fiction.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439183144
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 623,997
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra Byrd has published more than three dozen books in the Christian fiction and nonfiction market, including her series for adults, French Twist, which includes the Christy finalist Let Them Eat Cake.

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Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

Her voice sounded by turns pleased and then pleading, her laughter scaled from bass enjoyment to treble fear. A highborn woman held fast the girl’s arms while the rougher hands of a man ran over the young woman’s jawline, her hairline, her hemline. I could not see his face, but on his left small finger he bore a costly gold and black onyx signet ring. With the other hand he took his dagger and began to slash.

Pieces of her black gown fell to the ground, one by one, like the locks of a condemned woman shorn before execution, though he stayed himself from touching her bright red hair before sheathing his dagger again. Her woeful face betrayed that she knew this would be her utter undoing. The gown was ruined and the black clumps, which had plummeted to the ground, received the breath of life of a sudden and became a flock of beady-eyed ravens that took wing toward the Tower of London, whilst we watched in horror and dread.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2012

    A Wonderful Book

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and at the end I felt that Katherine Parr and Thomas Seymour's daughter, Mary, had a wonderful life with Juliana and her family.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    !

    Why do these posters feel the need to write mini books on a review, some of which contains multiple plot spoilers. Tone it down and just write if u liked it or not. Stop with the dissertations

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2012

    Beautiully written. One of my favorites of the year. My Rating

    Beautiully written. One of my favorites of the year.


    My Rating: 4 out of 5 rating.

    Disclaimers: I received this book for review from the publisher Howard Books in exchange for my honest opinion. Thanks!

    My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I love this time period, but I haven't actually read a lot from this period outside of required English class. I went into this novel with high expectations. I was a little worried about how Byrd would tie in the paranormal-ish element of visions into her story.

    I had no reason to be concerned. Byrd's writing was masterful, her characters masterfully crafted, and her novel absolutely brilliant. I adored this novel. Thirty pages in and I was hooked.

    Byrd's novel had a depth to it that I appreciated. So often I read novels and I leave thoroughly entertained, but they don't have the depth to make me want to come back to them time and time again.

    Byrd's novel left me entertained and thoroughly enraptured. I absolutely adored this novel. Juliana was a character that I found myself rooting for from the very beginning. She was down-to-earth and yet so spunky. I loved her. And then there was Jaime. Oh how I adored him from the second I was introduced to him. He definitely made my "top male characters" list.

    This was the first novel I read by Byrd; it won't be the last. I desperately want to go back and read the first in the series. I can't wait to see what Byrd comes up with next. Definitely recommend this series, especially to all you history buffs out there.

    In Summary: A beautifully written novel with masterfully crafted characters that I absolutely adored. This novel is a must-read. Go get it now!

    Warnings/Side-notes: A rape scene (not too graphic but it's there). References to sex. But really this novel was very clean.

    The Wrap-up: Very rarely do I get to read a novel about the time period of Henry VIII, because usually they are quite filthy. This one was very clean and had a Christian element to it. Naturally I was ecstatic to read it. The Christian elements were never overbearing or seemed forced, which is another huge plus. Trust me read this one!

    Love,

    Danica Page

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Secret Keeper is a Keeper

    As those in London are celebrating the 60 year reign of their beloved Queen Elizabeth with the Diamond Jubilee, we in America have cause to celebrate as well. For us, it’s the release of another “Tudor Treasure” The Secret Keeper which comes to us compliments of the multi- talented Sandra Byrd. For those that enjoyed her first offering of To Die For featuring Ann Boleyn, I am sure that you will equally enjoy this new book highlighting dear Henry’s last wife Kateryn Parr as told through the eyes of her friend and lady in waiting Juliana St. John.

    As with any Queen of Henry the VIII, there were those amongst her court that were for her and those that were definitely against her- “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is very apropos here. Those in power are seeking out more power and the sharks are circling particularly as the King’s health is waning. There is much jockeying for position in the court and in influencing of the Henry’s children. Kateryn Parr tries to influence her step-children as best she can particularly in reformist type ways, which brings out enemies against her. With her friendship with Juliana St. John, she gains a powerful ally as Juliana has the gift of prophecy through dreams which proves to be very beneficial to Kateryn. The Tudor history and reformist storyline is well written and woven into a convincing chain of events, but also as compelling is Juliana’s storyline which showed the demands of the court as well as secrets, intrigue, and heartbreak. Juliana endures some difficult situations at court which I don’t want to give away here, but at one point my heart broke along with Juliana’s and I was cheering for her to not give up and press on.

    Juliana’s loyal friendship to Kateryn plays out to the very last page and when you finish this story you can’ help but think of her love, her sacrifice and loyalty to her friend and Queen and admire her for it. This is Historical fiction at its finest as I love how you are transported back to Tudor England, picturing the knights and ladies in waiting, the gowns, etc, but the dilemmas of the character’s are not that different than what we face today- heartache, betrayal, greed, as well as joys and triumphs. It was a wonderful book, which I am sure many will enjoy.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

    5 stars.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Sandra Byrd has written another excellent novel. This time, the

    Sandra Byrd has written another excellent novel. This time, the story is about Kateryn Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife – one of his wives who survived marriage to the notorious, murderous monarch who got rid of wives by way of the executioner’s axe.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Sandra Byrd’s interpretation of Kate Parr’s life. She is portrayed as a kind-hearted, generous, and loving wife and mother figure with a strong faith, great patience, and high tolerance for others’ shortcomings.

    The story is told through the voice of Juliana St. John. Juliana is no ordinary noblewoman. She has the gift of prophecy through her dreams. When Sir Thomas Seymour spots Juliana, he arranges for her to become lady in waiting to Kateryn Parr, the woman he loves, and soon to be wife of Henry VIII. Kate’s trust in Juliana is profound and their close relationship results in Juliana becoming her ‘secret keeper’. But unbeknownst to Juliana, there are secrets about her own past that beg to be exposed to her.

    Sandra Byrd’s novels always delight, and I found this one quite refreshing – about a lesser known Tudor wife.

    Mistress Juliana St. John is the lovely, forthright daughter of a prosperous knight’s family. Though all expect her to marry the son of her late father’s business partner, time and chance interrupt, sending her to the sumptuous but deceptive court of Henry VIII. There, Kateryn’s support of Anne Askew, a woman unwilling to bend to new religious laws, puts her and her ladies lives in jeopardy.

    This tale nicely blends historical fact with fiction. The story is well-paced, well-written, and a gentle read. Sandra Byrd’s extensive research about the Tudors is evident in the rich details and descriptions. The conflicts Julian faces when having to decide between love and duty and sacrifice kept me interested from start to finish. And of course, the biggest secret of all is revealed in a highly satisfying, but rather unusual ending. A thoroughly enjoyable book well worth reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    a decent book

    This is a historical fiction book told from the POV of Juliana St. John, the daughter of a knight. She becomes a member of Kateryn Parr, King Henry the VIII’s last wife’s household. There is a bit of the supernatural mixed in with the history, which adds an interesting element to the story.

    I enjoyed this book, but not as much as other books I have read. I think that was mostly to do with one of the scenes in the book, it left a sour taste in my mouth and influenced my opinion of the rest of the story. There was a vividly described scene in which Juliana is raped. This event influenced Juliana’s life greatly. She forever felt unworthy of any decent gentleman’s affection since she was ruined and tainted by that event. This was even emphasized by a suitor telling her he wanted nothing to do with her after her so called friend betrayed her and told her suitor of the rape in order to gain his affection for herself. How Juliana ever forgave her, I will never know.

    Secret Keeper is full of lies, deceit, and intrigue, portraying almost all of the bad things that can happen to one involved in the inner workings of court life. I would never have wanted to be a courtier or even a woman in that time period. I know that it looks fun and that the clothing was beautiful, but women were treated terribly. The double standard of what was acceptable behavior was so much more pronounced then, and women were so cruel, crueler than women are to each other in an average person’s life today.

    On a happier note, this is actually more of a romance story than one would think given the title and what you may know about the life of Kateryn Parr, at least it is for Juliana. I am not going to give away anymore of the plot, except to say that it is very good and keeps the reader riveted to the story. This book has so many levels, plots and sub-plots that all mix and intertwine to give the reader a fresh perspective on the life of Kateryn Parr and the women who were loyal to her. Even if you are not fans of the supernatural, that element of this story is so small that it is almost insignificant and should not deter you from reading this book.

    In case you wanted to know, there is sex in this book, besides the rape scene. There are not many sex scenes and there is a significant amount of material between the rape and the next sex scene, but sex in general is brought up fairly often because of the insecurities that this traumatic event created for Juliana.

    I would recommend this book for adults only because of its overall content including but not limited to sex scenes, the rape scene, and events that follow due to the rape. I do not feel those would be appropriate for kids. If you are very sensitive to rape and all that follows, this book would not be good for you. It may bring up things you don’t want to think about and the scene is described in quite a bit of detail. It is also a main part of the plot and continues to be brought up throughout the entire novel.

    I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.


    Please read more of my reviews on my blog: sarahereads(dot)wordpress(dot)com

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wow! Does Sandra Byrd know how to write a book or what? I'll be

    Wow! Does Sandra Byrd know how to write a book or what? I'll be the first to admit that I don't often seek out books set in 16th century England but since having read To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn last year I make a point to read all Ms. Byrd's stories. I don't know a lot about the Tudors or English royalty but reading books like The Secret Keeper makes it feel like I'm living it up at court or that I'm right in the midst of a royal intrigue.


    Juliana St. John, a companion and maid of honor to Kateryn Parr, quickly becomes attached to the last wife of Henry VIII especially since Kateryn shows more affection for her than Juliana's own mother. Life within the palace's inner circles isn't without its disadvantages, especially to an innocent young woman like Juliana. The secrets that she must hold close abound and if they ever come out everyone could be in danger including the new queen herself.


    Writing seemingly authentic to the time characters and the ability to make the struggles of a person who lived hundreds of years ago relevant to the modern woman takes true talent and Sandra Byrd definitely has it! Every moment of Juliana's story was gripping, entertaining, and chock full of emotion. Getting to know Juliana as a naive young woman and follow her as she matured while in service to queen, king and country was truly a joy. Don't get me wrong there are definitely moments that will make you want to weep, especially concerning the treatment of women and assaults, but the ending was terrific without being an over the top happily-ever-after. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Tudor court set fiction regardless of whether or not they like Christian fiction.*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I have been a fan of Sandra Byrd since her French Twist series.

    I have been a fan of Sandra Byrd since her French Twist series. When I first heard about her Tudor novel, To Die For, I was uncertain that I would like it. I thought it might have been boring and dry, but my goodness, was I wrong. I loved that book, actually that’s an understatement, but close enough. When The Secret Keeper was released, I thought no way could Sandra do it again, this one won’t be as good. About two pages into the book (right about the time I got hooked), I had to ask myself why I keep doubting this absolutely amazing author. Sandra is incredible and she has done it again, perhaps even better? It’s hard to say because it has been a while since I read To Die For, but it doesn’t matter which is better because they are both excellent and impossible to put down.

    One of the things I tend to struggle with is when authors overdo it on trying to get the language and accents authentic to the time and place of the story. I have always found that it slows the story down and that is a huge negative for me. Somehow Sandra is able to be completely authentic without the book lagging. I never once felt like I wasn’t right there in the court of Henry VIII. Sandra’s talent is truly unmatched in historical fiction.

    So, the stage was expertly set with authentic historical detail and we have an amazing story as well. So many times I have read historical novels in which the author focuses too much on either the setting or on the story. That can create a disconnect with me because either the story is lacking or it is hard to tell just where and when the story takes place. The balance between historical detail and story is absolutely flawless in The Secret Keeper.

    I highly recommend The Secret Keeper, and To Die For. I also recommend reading the author’s note at the end. I always enjoy reading those anyway, but it was especially interesting in this book. The Secret Keeper is my favorite book so far this year! I can’t wait to see what’s next and I promise that I will have only high expectations. Sandra has earned it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2012

    How I love the Tudor's, let me count the ways....oh there are so

    How I love the Tudor's, let me count the ways....oh there are so many ways I love the Tudor's. The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr is the second novel in the Ladies in Waiting series by Sandra Byrd and this is one of the ways I love the Tudors.
    Kateryn, also known as Catherine was the Queen Consort of King Henry VIII, his sixth and last wife. This story is also about Juliana St. John, a lady in waiting to the Queen. She does not want to marry the man that her family has chosen for her but would rather go to court. Juliana becomes very close to Kateryn (Kate) and enjoys her day to day duties serving her. A close family friend is Thomas Seymour, who has aspirations to further his career but is in love with Kateryn and she him but she chooses to marry Henry . This time in the Tudor era sees the King as older and maybe a bit more mellow as Kateryn was instrumental in having Henry restore his two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth to the succession to the throne of England after Edward.
    After Henry dies, the throne goes to Edward, but he is a child and as such is subject to the machinations of the Seymour family. Julianna continues in the household of the dowager Queen Catherine, as she is concerned for her welfare as she has had visions of a woman having her dress shredded and does not know who the victim is but knows that something is not right. Thomas Seymour returns to court and pursues his love of Catherine and they are married in secret. King Edward and Princess Mary do not approve of the match and rightly so as not too long after the marriage and after Kateryn becomes pregnant with her only child, Thomas Seymour starts behaving in an improper manner with the Princess Elizabeth who is living with them. Kateryn dies only six days after giving birth to a daughter. Little is known as to what happened to the child but the author does a great job of tying this tidbit of information into a believable ending.
    This is a story full of courtly intrique, mystery, religious persecution and greed. Rich in descriptions and thoroughly researched, this is an amazing novel about the lives and pagentry of life in the Tudor era. A wonderful blend of fact and fiction that historical fiction fans will love. I look forward to reading the last installment in this series Roses Have Thorns, A novel
    of Elizabeth I.

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  • Posted June 9, 2012

    A Sweeping Historical Novel

    A sweeping historical novel of the little known Kateryn Parr.

    We've all heard about Henry VIII and his six wives, and we know about his first and second wives Katherine (or Catherine) of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, but what do we know of Henry VIII's sixth and final wife, Kateryn Parr? If you read this book you'll find out.

    The Secret Keeper is another book to add to my exclusive favorites pile, rich with real-life characters and full of intrigue The Secret Keeper is everything and more than I expected.
    I loved being able to sit back and seep into another time and place, a world of power, secrets, and rarest of all true love.
    I absolutely loved Ms. Byrd's attention to detail and how she brought a character so often tucked away into the back round to the forefront, through the eyes of Juliana St. John. I knew that there was alot going on in the court of Henry VIII during the time he was married to Anne Boleyn, but I never guessed how dangerous it was even in the time of Kateryn Parr!
    I was absorbed into the era through the eyes and ears of Juliana, a young woman who had secrets of her own. I came to be so invested in the tale that I read it all in two sittings, only because my mother insisted I go to sleep!
    I loved getting to know Kateryn better, and learning more about the time between Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth. The Secret Keeper is a lush historical read, that gripped me in a strangle-hold from beginning to end, and that I HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking for a fully engrossing read.

    Many thanks to Sandra Byrd and Howard Publishers for providing me with this copy of The Secret Keeper in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

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  • Posted May 31, 2012

    This book has everything that I love about historical fiction /

    This book has everything that I love about historical fiction / romance novels! Sandra Byrd is now one of my favorite authors! I absolutely loved her writing style - so very easy to read. She has an obvious expertise in the Tudor time period. The book was so rich in historical facts, but not so much that it took away from the narrative. I have not read the first book in this series, but I know now that I will - as a matter of fact, I just ordered it!!!

    Juliana St. John is a fascinating heroine. I loved that the author did not paint her to be perfect - rather showing her flaws / weaknesses. Juliana had the gift of prophesy, which was very dangerous in this time period. She had her share of both friends - some of which were quite controversial - and enemies - adding to the danger. Juliana became part of Kateryn Parr's household, prior to her becoming queen. During this time, Juliana became close friends and confidant to Kateryn. This allowed Juliana to take part in most everything - even the most intimate events. Such detail was provided throughout for the characters and events that I often felt as if I were actually there - taking part! The imagery was amazing!

    I fell in love with both Juliana and Kateryn. Both women were very generous in character, in ways beyond wealth. It was a shame that not everyone loved them - although many did. Their relationship was very complex, and so different than the bitter, jealous women of that time. The love interests of both women were very intriguing. The motives behind the interests in these men, quite captivating. There is definitely no comparison to today's world - quite a difference. There is an obvious difference in the roles of women at the time, no matter what your status.

    I must say that I have learned quite a bit about Henry VIII. I had learned a lot in school about him, but this put a new perspective on the time and person - and the novel was quite accurate to any of the historical accounts that had ever read or been exposed to. Kateryn's love, Sir Thomas Seymour, sure had some ups and downs. I both loved and hated him. The plot twists involving him and Juliana were quite surprising!!!

    I was immediately attracted to Juliana's love interest, Jamie. Although at first, I was not sure they would have a chance, he was very persistent. The romantic story-line the author created was very enjoyable.

    This is a very cleanly and accuratley written historical fiction, that I would would recommend to anyone who loves this genre, and especially those that like this time period.

    **I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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