The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr - eBook
I love these books! The Secret Keeper, Sandra ByrdÃ¢ÂÂs second book in the Ladies in Waiting Series, follows the life of Kateryn Parr, King Henry VIIIÃ¢ÂÂs last wife. After reading her novel about Ann Boyeln, I knew this would be a quite the read as well. Because royalty in those days were what the French call drah-ma.
Told from the perspective of one of ParrÃ¢ÂÂs ladies in waiting, Juliana, this was not only interesting to dive more into that era, but through her eyes, the reality of society for women was brought to life. It really is sad, but also encouraging to see how some women did stand up in different ways. At least weÃ¢ÂÂve come a long ways in society.
There were definitely a couple of twists I didnÃ¢ÂÂt expect and kept me on my book reading toes :) . Once again Byrd opens up a fascinating world with fantastic writing! ThereÃ¢ÂÂs beautiful details, stirring stories and of course the crazy British drama. I canÃ¢ÂÂt wait for her new one, Roses Have Thorns, A Novel of Elizabeth I, to come out this Spring!!
I definitely recommend this series, so be sure to pick up a copy!
March 8, 2013
A Novel to Savor
While many of the historical novels and movies of late featuring the wives of King Henry VIII are nothing more than sensationalism, Sandra Byrd shows that historical fiction can be accurate and still entirely sensational in her latest book The Secret Keeper. Sweeping through 8-plus years of court intrigue, royalty, and grandeur, Sandra tells the story of Kateryn Parr through the eyes of a humble lady-in-waiting, Juliana St. John. Juliana's journey begins innocently enough, but hairpin turns are only a moment away, and what was once an exciting adventure to be included in the company of the Queen quickly becomes Juliana's duty to protect her from those who intend to discredit her. She also does not count on shameful circumstances affecting her directly, and thus, charts a firm course for the remainder of her life...to which, God has another plan.
Sandra's study of the Tudor period and Kateryn's life was intense, providing the reader not only with several family trees in the beginning, but an extensive author's note in the back detailing her meticulous research. From the royal garments and stunning jewels to the actual letters and books used in conversation during that time, The Secret Keeper had a natural authentic quality that set it apart from other historical novels regardless of their time period. As a reader, I paused several times to savor the rich language and dialogue that made up each scene. This was not a novel that I wanted to race to complete, but one that grew sweeter with each and every page.
I have been so impressed with all of Sandra's books over the years, but historical fiction is where her talents shine the brightest. Although I am anxiously awaiting her next Tudor novel about Elizabeth I, it comes with a hint of sadness that it will bring this series to a close. And for a reader whose tendency is to never re-read a book, I have no doubt I will be making *several* exceptions for Sandra's entire Ladies in Waiting series.
December 11, 2012
Another Favorite is in the House
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!
July 15, 2012
First there was To Die For: A novel of Anne Boleyn. Now Sandra Byrd returns to regale us with The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.
As King Henry VIIIÃ¢ÂÂs last wife, Kateryn Parr enters a world of opposition and intrigue when she steps into his court. The story is told through the eyes of Juliana St. John-a young maiden who has come along to attend Kateryn.
The court may be full of trickery and deceit, but it is Juliana who may hold the biggest secret.
Not only does Juliana have the gift of prophecy, but in one of her visions she has also seen a prominent family friend shredding the dress of a very high-born woman.
Now Juliana is left to wonder: was she brought to the court for such a time as this? Will she have the courage to intervene when the time comes? And will she ever find true love of her own?
Once again, I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt put this book down. I was transported to the very courts of King Henry himself. There was also a huge twist in the middle that completely surprised me.
Before reading The Secret Keeper I knew little of Kateryn Parr, so it was both fun and enlightening to get to know her through ByrdÃ¢ÂÂs adaptation. She was a fascinating woman, and played a large role in the upbringing of Queen Elizabeth I.
Likewise, Juliana also played a strong female character. I especially loved how Byrd gave her the gift of prophecy. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs something IÃ¢ÂÂd never seen before in fiction, and I felt she made it both relevant and interesting.
The one and only reason I shaved off a star for The Secret Keeper was because I felt as if it was a little too similar to the first book, To Die For. Each book is set in King Henry VIIIÃ¢ÂÂs court, each has a queen with strong protestant leanings, and each has a ladyÃ¢ÂÂs maid who cannot have the love of her life because of social reasons. Because of the similarity between plots, it came down to a Ã¢ÂÂFavoritesÃ¢ÂÂ game: which was my personal favorite? For me, it was To Die For. So I feel as though I may be a little biased.
However, IÃ¢ÂÂm confident those who havenÃ¢ÂÂt read To Die For will find nothing to criticize in The Secret Keeper, and there are several variants to keep it interesting and worth reading for those who have.
There is one scene that depicts a rape, so please be advised.
But overall, I thought The Secret Keeper was fabulous. ItÃ¢ÂÂs one I wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt hesitate to recommend, and I eagerly look forward to ByrdÃ¢ÂÂs future installment: Roses Have Thorns: A novel of Elizabeth I.
Based on these first two books, I have a feeling this will be a strong series that readers wonÃ¢ÂÂt soon forget!
(Thanks to the author and Howard Books for giving me this book to review.)
June 23, 2012