I received a free copy of The Secret Keeper for my honest review.
About the Book:
The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII as a young woman is caught between love and honor. Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father’s business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn Parr.
Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his concerns with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that Juliana would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in Parr’s household for “finishing” and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly.
For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king’s daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.
As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII’s court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will undo everything she holds dear.
About the Author:
Sandra Byrd has published more than three dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including the first book in her Tudor series, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. Her second book, The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, illuminates the mysteries in the life of Henry’s last wife.
For more than a decade Sandra has shared her secrets with the many new writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband and two children. For more Tudor tidbits, please visit www.sandrabyrd.com.
I read Ms. Byrd’s first book in her Ladies in Waiting series, To Die for (reviewed HERE) and enjoyed it. I was therefore, very much looking forward to this second installment. This book jumps to Henry VIII’s last wife, Kateryn Parr. It starts while she is still Lady Latimer and very much in love with Thomas Seymour. None of the historical fact presented within the confines of the novel is new – is there ANYTHING new to be learned about the Tudors? – but the introduction of the fictional Juliana St. John adds a different perspective to an oft told tale.
Juliana is a rather benign soul sent off to court due to the good will of family friend Thomas Seymour – he was a business partner of Juliana’s dead father. She is to be a lady in waiting to Lady Latimer. When her husband dies and she takes the fancy of King Henry we all know what happens and Juliana finds herself a lady in waiting to the new Queen. What Juliana hasn’t told anyone is that she has the gift – or is a curse – of prophecy. What will that do to her in these dangerous times?
This was a fast easy read – rather like a historical beach read if you will. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed it as a nice, light alternative to heavier tomes. The big secret did catch me by surprise and the book ended on a satisfying note. There is a bit of a modern take on how women would be perceived that caused a bit of a disconnect from the time period but not so much that it ruined the enjoyment of the book.