To Die For: Anne Boleyn   -     By: Sandra Byrd
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To Die For: Anne Boleyn

Howard Books / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

When Anne Boleyn ascends to the court of Henry VIII, she takes her best friend, Meg Wyatt, along with her. Everything seems thrilling at first, but then their favor rises and falls. Having pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what, will Meg lose her greatest love---and her own life---in the process? 352 pages, softcover from Howard.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Howard Books
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.44 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1439183112
ISBN-13: 9781439183113
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

To Die For, is the story of Meg Wyatt, pledged forever as the best friend to Anne Boleyn since their childhoods on neighboring manors in Kent. When Anne’s star begins to ascend, of course she takes her best friend Meg along for the ride. Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling at first, but as Anne’s favor rises and falls, so does Meg’s. And though she’s pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what the test, Meg just might lose her greatest love—and her own life—because of it. 

Meg's childhood flirtation with a boy on a neighboring estate turns to true love early on. When he is called to follow the Lord and be a priest she turns her back on both the man and his God. Slowly, though, both woo her back through the heady times of the English reformation. In the midst of it, Meg finds her place in history, her own calling to the Lord that she must follow, too, with consequences of her own. Each character in the book is tested to figure out what love really means, and what, in this life, is worth dying for.

Though much of Meg’s story is fictionalized, it is drawn from known facts. The Wyatt family and the Boleyn family were neighbors and friends, and perhaps even distant cousins. Meg’s brother, Thomas Wyatt, wooed Anne Boleyn and ultimately came very close to the axe blade for it. Two Wyatt sisters attended Anne at her death, and at her death, she gave one of them her jeweled prayer book—Meg.

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 SandraByrd.com.

ChristianBookPreviews.com

A historical romance novel entitled To Die For by Sandra Byrd focuses on the life of Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII. The narration is provided by Anne's truest friend, Meg Wyatt. The main characters have to choose between following their heart or what God is calling them to do. The resulting emotion of the novel is sadness that takes a satisfying turn at the end.

The novel has well-written imagery that allows the reader clearly to picture the events taking place. The chronicler, Meg, demonstrates unconditional loyalty for Anne and a passionate love for a man named Will. One unforgettable experience in the novel is Meg's love, care, and compassion for Anne when her life is on the line.

Meg finds herself giving up what her heart desires in order to serve her dear friend Anne. Anne marries King Henry VIII with the intention of giving him a son and heir. Unfortunately, not everything works out for Anne but Meg is always there to encourage her. Even in mournful times, God eventually blesses Meg's choice to serve Him.

Meg's character is compassionate and self-sacrificing, however, she doesn't rely on God as much as she should, allowing her emotions to take over. Anne, on the other hand, is more confident, knows exactly what she wants, and can clearly identify her emotions. Her weakness is relying too much on others and not enough on God for comfort and direction. Supporting characters include Meg's family, Anne's housekeepers, and King Henry, some encouraging and others challenging.

This novel is well written in its use of literary devices and historical events, yet it has slow plot action and the character development is less than I would have liked. The novel contains a minimum amount of faith displayed in the characters, although it has a biblical foundation that suits the events taking place. Luke 22:27 explains the novel's biblical theme of always serving God. It states, "For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves" (NIV). The characters have to choose whether or not to follow God's call to serve.

Anyone who likes history and romantic twists will enjoy To Die For. Someone looking for a novel that will challenge her faith won't find it here, as biblical themes are not the point. The main focus is the life of Anne Boleyn, as told by her friend Meg. – Lili Tinaglia, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Editorial Reviews

“In To Die For, Sandra Byrd gifts the reader with a fresh look at Anne Boleyn through the eyes of her lifelong friend Meg Wyatt. But Meg commands her own interest and respect in the Tudor world of triumph and tragedy. Readers will be drawn to the events, beautifully depicted, but also to the emotions, skillfully conveyed. A new Tudor historical to treasure.”
"In this moving story of a friendship that survives a queen's rise and fall, Sandra Byrd reaches beyond the familiar stereotypes to give us the story of two remarkable women: Anne Boleyn and Meg Wyatt. A refreshingly three-dimensional Anne and a Meg of courage and integrity make this novel a must for your Tudor library."
“Ms. Byrd shows a wonderful sense of time and place in her novel, To Die For. Her characters and her story are drawn with precision. The new life she breathes into well-worn notables like Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, as seen through her character, Meg, is simply captivating.”
“Most readers of Tudor historicals think they know Queen Anne Boleyn. They'll meet a very different Anne in Sandra Byrd's wonderfully told To Die For. Anne's life-long friend Meg Wyatt tells the tale of Anne's rise from lady-in-waiting to the arms of King Henry VIII and the throne of England until her tragic fall. Meg, who rises and falls with Anne, seeks her own lost love and faith. Anne's influence during the English Reformation is an integral and refreshing part of this story, one that Byrd tells with authority, adding a new and honest dimension to Anne's life and death . . . A novel to savor and return to.”
“Sandra Byrd's first venture into historical fiction is nothing short of brilliant. All the Tudor details are perfectly placed, like gemstones in a royal crown, yet there is far more to this compelling novel than mere history. The characters live and breathe, their struggles are real, their longings palpable. Seeing Anne Boleyn's story through the eyes of her closest friend provides a well-rounded, even sympathetic view of a woman often vilified in history books. As Meg's story unfolds, Sandra Byrd does Philippa Gregory one better, giving readers a wider glimpse of history, a greater measure of hope, and an ending that satisfies at the deepest level. Simply put, To Die For is the best historical novel I've read in many a season, a masterpiece of history and heart.”
“If you love Philippa Gregory, you’ll adore Sandra Byrd! Through the eyes of Anne Boleyn’s most trusted friend, Meg Wyatt, Ms. Byrd seamlessly weaves sacred threads of history with those of captivating imagination to take us on an unforgettable journey of the heart. The paths we travel—at once both familiar and new—are bathed in hope that casts an eternal light on the characters’ hearts, and the reader’s. I've no doubt that if Anne and Meg could somehow read To Die For, they would thank Ms. Byrd for telling their stories with such grace and beauty.”
"As a reader who appreciates well-researched historical fiction, I truly enjoyed Sandra Byrd's To Die For. Anne Boleyn has long held a fascination for contemporary readers, and I was pleased to discover this account of her remarkable life. Through her charm, intelligence, and wit, she changed the course of history."
"Told through the eyes of Anne Boleyn’s best friend, Meg Wyatt, this stunning novel by French Twist series author Byrd re-examines Boleyn’s life from her beginnings to her rise and eventual fall in the Tudor court. Meg has her own tale of young love and pride, having turned her back on her childhood love when he accepted a religious calling. She travels with Anne to court and finds her life intimately tied to Anne’s changing fortunes. Byrd’s novel adds a depth to the character of Anne Boleyn that is often missing in other novels, and she brings the history to life in exquisite detail. Readers might indeed find themselves sympathizing with the young queen. Highly recommended for fans of Philippa Gregory."
"With the vivid descriptions the author provides, To Die For is an interesting work of historical fiction that offers a fresh look at the court of King Henry VIII."

Product Reviews

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  1. Willows, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Historical Accuracy Woven into the Story
    August 30, 2012
    Willows, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Sandra Byrd is an accomplished writer of historical fiction, and this novel based on the life of Anne Boleyn and her friend and confidant, Meg Wyatt, is a fine example of that polished writing excellence.
    How deep is your friendship with your closest friend? Would you walk with her (or him) through high places and danger, through life and the path to death? Meg chose to remain Anne Boleyn's friend even when her friend made terrible choices. Many people make unwise choices, and Anne's choice to become Henry VIII's second wife was one of those. Carried away by King Henry's charm and believing his lies about his first wife, Anne Boleyn waits for Henry's machinations to put his first wife aside to become complete. They marry, and Anne becomes the queen.
    As the queen's closest friend and confidant, Meg's star rises with Anne's and crashes as Henry becomes discontent with his beautiful wife's inability to give him an heir. Meg prays for her, rejoices with her, and despairs for her, as a true friend should always strive to do. So many of us give up on friends as they disappoint us--but Meg didn't desert her even when Anne treated her with disrespect.
    Anne Boleyn's story has always fascinated me, and it's been so fun to learn more about her and become acquainted with Meg Wyatt, the friend who continued to succor her doomed companion all the way to the tragic finale.
    Thank you, Sandra, for a heart-wrenching and -warming historical fiction with amazing attention to details of history during that period of the Tudor reign.

  2. Army Mom
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    May 9, 2012
    Army Mom
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4

    I love anything by Sandra Byrd. I love her writing and her thought process. This book was not so much about Anne Boylen, but about her best friend Meg Wyatt which I thought was a wonderful twist. I loved the interaction between the two friends, there was peace and war with them which I think is very realistic given the setting of HenryVIII court.
    The only complaint that I have is that I couldn't find God or Jesus or any mention of faith. If there was I didn't see it, and I keep looking. But it was a well researched, well written book and I don't think that you will be dissapointed.

  3. Faith
    SD
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A MUST READ!
    November 8, 2011
    Faith
    SD
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    I have heard so many beautiful things about this book, I knew that I had to read it. To Die For is in my mind the perfect Historical novel. Rich in detail, and characters, this book was nearly impossible to put down yet at the same time I want to just sit back and enjoy it.

    Meg Wyatt is the faithful friend to Anne Boleyn, the 2nd wife of Henry VIII, and the mother of one of England's most memorable monarchs, Queen Elizabeth. To Die For chronicles the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn to power and back down again.

    Many books fiction and non-fiction alike both like to paint Anne as evil or as a witch, so I was glad to find a book that portrayed her more realistically. The historical accuracy and believability was spot on for me, it read like a novel, yet I learned things at the same time :)

    Meg was a very easy to relate to character that I quickly connected with. I experience what it was like to be in the court of Henry VIII all through the pages of this book. It was an absolute pleasure to read!

    One of my favorite Christian heroes has always been William Tyndale, and I was happy that his work was not ignored, in fact, the effect of that his explosive translation of the New Testament had on the Christian world.

    Overall this is a book I would highly recommend to lovers of Christian Fiction, and Historical Fiction, or anyone who loves a well woven story. As I read it quickly became a favorite and is probably one of the best books I've read this year. This book is a MUST READ!

    Final Rating: 5.4 out of 5

  4. Renee C
    PA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Simply Awesome!
    September 16, 2011
    Renee C
    PA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female

    5 stars~
    Every so often a book is written that completely overcomes all expectations you have for a genre. To Die For by Sandra Byrd is that novel. Not only does it bring to the forefront issues of faith but loyalty and the importance of sisterly affection between friends in a way that males you forget you're reading fiction. Fans of Tudor England and the life of Anne Boleyn will love this story regardless if they like Christian fiction or not. Byrd deftly ties in the faith of the characters with the historical goings on of the Church of England in the 16th century.

    This isn't the first time that I've read a story of the Boleyn family but it is by far one of the best. To Die For involves Meg Wyatt, Anne's friend from childhood and follows her life and Anne's life as their stars rise at Court and through Anne's demise. The entire story took only a day to get through because I so wanted to know what happened to Meg. We all know how Anne's story ended but between her birth and untimely death there is a lot speculation on who she really was. Ms. Byrd did an excellent job making Anne as a woman relatable, Anne as a friend realistic and Anne as a queen unshakable and Meg a friend in and lady in the truest sense. I think she did both of the ladies justice.

    If you want to read story that blends fact and fiction seamlessly, read this. If you want to read a story of the power of friendship, read this. If you want to be thoroughly entertained and strengthen your faith at the same time then by all means read this book! If you don't believe me, as of 9/16/11 every single review on Amazon is 4 stars and above and for good reason.

    *I received my complimentary copy courtesy of the author and publisher in exchange for posting my honest review.*

  5. CKendall
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    To Die For by Sandra Byrd
    September 6, 2011
    CKendall
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Before I launch into this book review, I need to go ahead and admit that with my limited writing abilities, there is no way I will be able to do this book justice. I honestly wasn’t sure if I would like this story or not, but there were two reasons I wanted to read it. First of all, I love Sandra Byrd’s books. I read her entire French Twist series and it has remained one of my favorite fiction series. Also, I wanted to read this book because my roots go back to northern England. In fact my dad was born in Hexham, so my interest in the history of this part of the world is pretty high. I have never known much about Anne Boleyn or Henry VIII, just the basics of what history tells us. I was interested to read a novel about Anne Boleyn written by someone who actually took her time to thoroughly research these people, places and the time period. So, I opened To Die For and found myself swept into a world and story far beyond my wildest expectations.

    I started reading this book like I do any other book, but soon found that I was reading a story that I fell in love with. There were so many factors that caused me to have such strong feelings about this book. For one thing, Sandra’s writing was absolutely flawless. She did something that few authors, in my humble opinion, can do. She used authentic language to the place and time when the characters were speaking without slowing the story down. I usually find that to be a distraction, bordering on a pet peeve when I’m reading a book, but Sandra managed to make it work flawlessly and the book moved at an even pace and remained authentic.

    The story was incredible as well. The loved the strong bond between Anne and her best friend Meg. It was refreshing to see that despite Anne’s rise to becoming Queen of England, she remained true to her friend and her friend remained true to her right up until the end. We all know how this story ends, but there were still some nice surprises that helped this book come full circle to a satisfying ending. I don’t know exactly what all was fact and what all was fiction, but I just loved the story too much to get hung up on the details. There is an intensity to this story that builds steadily throughout and makes this book so engaging and hard to put down.

    What else can I say about a book that was everything good literature should be, and then some? To Die For is one of those books that stays with me, even now, a few days after finishing it. I would like to read it again someday because I’m sure there are some details I missed on the first read. But, until then, I will simply cherish this book as much as I cherished it while I read it. I can’t recommend this book strongly enough. It is going on my short list of all-time favorite books. Thank you Sandra for telling Anne’s story. Any reader will see that this book was truly a labor of love and should be savored and cherished.

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