Roses Have Thorns is a fascinating story about Queen Elizabeth I and her court, as seen through the eyes of Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton. Helena, who was born Elin von Snakenborg of Sweden, came to be the highest-ranking women in Englandnext to Elizabeth.
The history, based on the authors meticulous research and breadth of study, gives authenticity to the novel and makes the story extremely interesting. I do think, however, a glossary would be useful as I found myself relying on my iPhone to look up a few of the terms. I love the story and the way in which the author was able to bring it to life and infuse it with so much emotion and realism. It is great fun getting to see Queen Elizabeth as a real person, rather than just a historical figure.
I really enjoyed the main characters in addition to the queen. Helena is a great example of devotion and duty. Her love for Elizabeth and for her husbands is a wonderful example for us, as readers and followers of Christ. Both William and Thomas are worthy heroes in their own ways. Due to the depth and scope of the novel, the secondary and minor characters are many. I occasionally became confused, so I think a list of characters at the beginning of the book would be most helpful.
This book is really two stories in one. It is the story of Queen Elizabeth and world history in the late 16th century, and its the story of a young Swedish girl, who leaves her homeland and becomes a companion and attendant to the queen of England.
Roses Have Thorns is a really good story. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy books about the Elizabethan era of English history.
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!
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.
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.
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.)