Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd

My Review

The Secret Keeper is another very enjoyable historical novel by Sandra Byrd.  After enjoying To Die For so much last year I could not wait to get my hands on this one.  And I'm thankful to say I was able to read this one in air-conditioned comfort (I read To Die For after Hurricane Irene came through and our power was out for several days and anyone that has been through a hurricane knows it's always horribly hot and humid after one).

I must say I knew Henry VIII had many wives and I knew about Anne Boleyn who To Die For was peripherally about.  But I did not know about Kateryn Parr.  The Secret Keeper is about Kateryn Parr, or more about one of her ladies, Juliana St. John.  I love this series of books and getting to know how the court works.  I mean Ms. Byrd could have told the story from the point-of-view of the wife, but she chose to tell it from one of the ladies-in-waiting in each book and I really like it.  The intrigue, the fashion, the secrets, the scandal, the rules.  It's all in there and makes a fascinating book.  So this is about Kateryn, Henry's last wife.  I love her as a character, furthering the reformation work and trying to stay alive, but also she was a sweet mothering lady.  I also really loved Juliana.  She just wants to do right by Kateryn and those around her.  She is looking for love and approval and finds it from Kateryn.  She also finds love in a member of the court who comes and goes in her life, but is he the right one for her?  You'll have to read the story to find out.

The plot was a little looser in this book than in To Die For, or maybe I just had more going on, I'm not sure.  I felt a little lost at times.  A lot of people with the same names or similar names and I was a little confused at times.  But I kept going and it was well worth it. There is a lot of intrigue and suspense in this book.  I found it fascinating so even if it seems a little confusing at times, keep going, it will be well worth it.  Through the book Ms. Byrd was able to tie it all back together and make it interesting to me.  And wow, I can't believe how much went on in one book.

The Secret Keeper has great characters and an interesting plot that will keep you reading through the day and night.  If you love reading about this time period then Ms. Byrd is an excellent author to add to your list.  I can't wait until the next book in this series.  And though I refer to it as a series.  You do not need to read it in order, they do not rely on each other.  Each book is a stand-alone, but each book is about a lady-in-waiting to an important woman, for the first two books, it's two wives of Henry VIII.  I believe the next book will be about Elizabeth I who does make an appearance in this book as well.

My Rating: 4.25/5.0

About The Secret Keeper:  A Novel of Kateryn Parr

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 Sandra Byrd
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

I have one copy of The Secret Keeper to give away to a reader in the US/Canada. Ends 7/2.  It will be mailed from the publisher.  Simply fill out the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


***I received this book through Historical Fiction Book Tours for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***