Roses Have Thorns: Elizabeth I         -     By: Sandra Byrd
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Roses Have Thorns: Elizabeth I

Howard Books / 2013 / Paperback

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Product Description

In 1565, 17-year-old Elin leaves Sweden---and heartbreak---for a treacherous journey to England. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Queen Elizabeth's circle. But the court is surrounded by enemies who plot the monarch's demise. Will serving the queen cost Helena her marriage---or even worse, her life? 352 pages, softcover from Howard.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Howard Books
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 5.50 X 8.38 X 8.38 (inches)
ISBN: 1439183163
ISBN-13: 9781439183168
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiancé has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle.

But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between her unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

A rich, tautly woven tale of love, deception, and grace, Roses Have Thorns vividly conjures the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots and is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.

Author Bio

Sandra Byrd is a noted author of historical fiction, including the first book in her Tudor series, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. She lives near Seattle, Washington. Visit

Editorial Reviews

"In Roses Have Thorns Sandra Byrd has given the reader another amazing heroine to tell the intimate story of England's greatest queen, Elizabeth I. What a unique point of view and deeply moving story Helena von Snakenborg provides. Byrd is especially adept at blending political and private lives. This is a timeless women's friendship novel as well as a poignant love story to cherish—both the roses and the thorns."
"There is something golden about this tale of Elin, an eager young woman in a strange land, diligent in her duty but alive to love. A tale gracefully told, even as it renders the terrors of treachery that form the crucible of Elin's hard-won wisdom. A heartfelt story of loyalty, longing, life-long friendship, and the many seasons of the heart."
"Beautiful prose and masterful research combine to bring this fascinating tale to life, treating the reader to fully realized characters and providing an original window in which we can view Elizabeth's court. Ms. Byrd's work will stand as an unforgettable contribution to Tudor fiction."
"Scandalous gossip! Court intrigue! Forbidden romance! Roses Have Thorns is addictive reading--a guilty pleasure that will transport your heart to the edge of despair and, with a sigh, to the renewal of hope."
"The book spans nearly 24 years, and readers will be very caught up as the story unfolds and they see some of the familiar players of Elizabeth’s court through the eyes of a gentle and affectionate friend to the Queen. With this well written novel, rich in history and everyday court life during the Elizabethan period, I can now count Sandra Byrd as one of my favorite writers of historical fiction."

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
4.7 out of 5
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 15
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  1. Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Such a fascinating novel!
    February 23, 2014
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Roses Have Thorns was not my favorite novel I have ever read, but it was such a touching story that had my captured much of the novel!

    Helena is a very interesting character! I felt I could relate to her in many ways, especially as she became more openly outspoken in her humorous and witty remakes with the people around her! There were many times though that my heart broke for her concerning things that she experienced (I don't want to give any examples because I don't want to spoil anything)! She could have been an extremely bitter and mean woman, but instead she turned to God to help her.

    There was for the most part I felt a subtle faith message! In the time of Elizabeth there was much religious turmoil it seems between the Catholics and Protestants. However beside this their were a few Bible verses shared as well as a few prayers spoken! Many people believe me in God would sometimes openly share their faith!

    Lastly I really enjoyed learning more about ladies in waiting! It was so interesting and saddening at times when they had to serve the Queen much more often rather then be with their families! It was very interesting to see Queen Elizabeth through the eyes of a lady in waiting as well! She definitely is human even it seemed she did not with her many masks!

    One thing that I will mention is that there we're places where my attention was not held very good! However this is still a great historical novel! I felt I was almost reading a secret journal of Helena concerning her love life, court life, and of course the Queen herself (which was my favorite part of the whole novel)!

    I recommend this novel to anyone who likes a subtle faith message weaved into a historical account with love, loyalty, and grace!

    I give Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd 4 out of 5 stars!
  2. Yelm, WA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Glad to See Such a Christian Historical Read
    December 29, 2013
    Yelm, WA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I would venture to say that I never tire of reading about or hearing more about the royal Tudor family. I mean King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scotts, Ann Boleyn--I feel like I know so much and so little about them. Up to this point, I have never felt any real compassion for Queen Elizabeth. I have realized how great she is and all that, but I felt she had no heart. I was never really a fan of Mary Queen of Scotts either. As far as I was concerned, they came from a crazy family, and there was really nothing good about them.

    Let me say that this book gave me a very different view of Queen Elizabeth and the Tudor court. I saw this supreme monarch as a real person with feeling and emotion. I actually dared to believe that maybe she was human after all. She even had friends. And all of this was told through the eyes of one of her ladies in waiting--Elin of Sweden. She was a real person, and Sandra Byrd has created a well-researched tale that kept me interested from start to finish.

    I can certainly classify this book as a clean romance. There is absolutely no profanity, and there are no sex scenes. It is rare to find a historical novel that is squeaky clean like this book. I also love the fact that the dialogue fits the time period, and actual historical events are portrayed with only minor artistic liberties. I also appreciated the emphasis on the faith of the characters involved. I might even believe that Elizabeth was some kind of Christian. I have to say that as a result of this book, I will never see the Tudor family the same way again.

    I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
  3. New Mexico
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Fresh, Majestic & Inspiring
    September 17, 2013
    New Mexico
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book concludes Sandra's regal & riveting Ladies in Waiting series. Through the unique perspective of one fully devoted to Elizabeth, Sandra gives a rare glimpse into a queen's heart. I've read other books about Elizabeth that were less than kind, but Sandra's stories always revive them with such fresh intimacy that the characters themselves seem to rise up & challenge my former assumptions. From the first book in this series, my hard-hearted ideas about Elizabeth I began to dissolve. However, it still took many pages to understand Elizabeth's life choices, despite Sandra's expertise in laying them out. They just didn't resonate with my romantic heart but digging deeper through Elin/Helena's point of view, reveals much of the Divine Romance at work in Elizabeth's life. To whom much is given, indeed, much is required, but Elizabeth wasn't the only one who made sacrifices. Those close to her also surrendered much in their own lives to serve queen & country. Why? The reason that finally penetrated my pre-conceived notions was the absolute necessity of being able to trust those who encircled her throne. Elizabeth faced enemies & adversity from the moment she entered the world female rather than male. Her father so doubted a woman's ability to rule that he continued to switch out wives like undergarments in his restless pursuit of a son. Through Helena's story, which is ripe with intrigue, romance, betrayal & forgiveness, Sandra showcases the heart of a queen who chose to put herself aside to fulfill the good work God prepared in advance for her.
  4. Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Delivered on High Expectations
    May 18, 2013
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Queen Elizabeth I has always been a personal favorite of mine (I mean, talk about a great name, right?) so author Sandra Byrd had a tough feat ahead of her from the onset. I picked up "Roses Have Thorns" with great expectations and warned myself ahead of time not to put any undue pressure on the author. However, I can honestly say that while Byrd's vision of Queen Elizabeth I didn't completely match mine, I was not disappointed.

    The story follows the adventures of Lady Elin Von Snakenborg as she serves as a lady's maid to Queen Elizabeth. Readers are transported to another time and place as Elin struggles to balance both allegiance to the queen and allegiance to her heart. While threats against the queen's throne mount, threats within Elin's own home abound.

    I really appreciate how down-to-earth the author made both Queen Elizabeth and Elin. You feel the pain right along with Queen Elizabeth as she chooses loyalty to her people over the love of her life, and with Elin you see real flaws that would be impossible not to relate to.

    What I really appreciated about this story was that Byrd didn't just stop at "happily-ever-after" and a marriage. Instead, she goes past the marriage and straight to what it means to rediscover love once the honeymoon is over. Because of that, Elin's love story is one of the more realistic and poignant I've read.

    I wouldn't consider myself a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I did feel as though the author could have done without so many sexual references. While the references were always within the context of marriage and tastefully done, I didn't feel it was necessary to know of every time the characters made love.

    However, as with any Byrd book, readers are in for an emotionally-gripping read with unforgettable characters who face real challenges and end up overcoming them in a way that makes you want to cheer aloud. Byrd is a master at subtlety, and all of the witty play on words were fun to find.

    Although "To Die For" will remain my favorite, all the books in this series were well-worth reading, and it is with a fond farewell I say goodbye to the "Ladies in Waiting" series and look forward to more!

    (I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.)
  5. Chicago, IL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Very intriguing story
    May 14, 2013
    Faith and Family Reviews
    Chicago, IL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book, Roses Have Thorns, written by Sandra Byrd is a new book about Queen Elizabeth I. Sandra Byrd is also a new author to me. I actually enjoyed both story and author.

    This novel was more than a historical romance, it was a story of the life of the lady of the Queen and her relationship to the Monarch. Lady Helena served Queen Elizabeth I through her single, married, widowed, remarried life, life with and without children.

    The life of a lady of the queen was a privileged one, yet it was extremely demanding as well. Trust, devotion and true love for Monarch lead to the path of success for those who chose it. However, for those who didn't.....they quickly discovered the consequences.

    Roses Have Thorns was and is an intriguing story set in 1565 about the loving devotion between a queen and her lady. I loved seeing the story play out through threats on Queen Elizabeth I's life, acts of treason and plots by Mary Queen of Scots; detailing the sacrifices each one made on behalf of England and her Queen.

    This book kept me captivated as I lived through Lady Helena and felt her love and pain. It was extremely interesting to live the life of a lady through her eyes. I give the book two thumbs up because I'll probably read it again. I'd also like to read the other books in the Tudor series, all written by Sandra Byrd.
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