The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr
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
The Secret Keeper
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 thatÃ¢ÂÂs an understatement, but close enough. When The Secret Keeper was released, I thought no way could Sandra do it again, this one wonÃ¢ÂÂt 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? ItÃ¢ÂÂs hard to say because it has been a while since I read To Die For, but it doesnÃ¢ÂÂt 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 wasnÃ¢ÂÂt right there in the court of Henry VIII. SandraÃ¢ÂÂs 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 authorÃ¢ÂÂs 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 canÃ¢ÂÂt wait to see whatÃ¢ÂÂs next and I promise that I will have only high expectations. Sandra has earned it.
July 11, 2012
It was good
I was in the mood for castles, kings and queens and it fit the bill. Some violence but not gory. I will be looking for other books by this author.
July 9, 2012