Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Byrd #RosesHaveThornsVirtualTour

 Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster)
Publish Date: April 9, 2013
Paperback, 353 pages
Fiction, Historical, Romantic Elements
 ISBN: 9781439183168
Ladies in Waiting #3

My Review:
Sandra Byrd has done it again. She has thoroughly engaged me in a historical novel with intrigue romance and characters I truly care about. Roses Have Thorns is a wonderful installment in the Ladies in Waiting series.

Elin in a wonderful Lady in Waiting to watch move through the ranks of Queen Elizabeth's court.  As she comes to England as a foriegner from Sweden and decides to stay when a mutual interest develops between her and a man of high ranking in the court.  But as she stays all is not as it seems and Elin who becomes Helena in her desire to become more English has to carve her place in the court.  I love the strong will of Elin but the need for love both from a man and from her Queen.  The need for friends and a husband as well as a sister-figure made her all the more real.  I loved watching her growth in the court and as her strength and position grew I loved her even more.  It was also interesting to see Elizabeth through her eyes.  Elizabeth's strengths and weaknesses were envisioned through a lady of the court.  It's a very interesting way to tell a historical and I loved this series because of it.  The intimate look at the Queens has been fascinating.

So not only are the characters fascinating but the plot is amazing as well.  The intrigues.  It seems just when one plot against the Queen is figured out another is being hashed and I never knew who in the court could be trusted.  And then the romances as well.  The Queens' never realized romance and Elin's two different romances were beautiful and very realistic and really added to the plot.

Roses Have Thorns is an amazing historical depicting the life of Elizabeth I and her court.  I felt like I intimately got to know Elin and Elizabeth both along with others in the court.  I also felt like I got a great glimpse of court life and intrigue during this period.  Ms. Byrd works wonders with both characters and plot to keep the reader engaged from the first page to the last.  I always close her books eager for the next and Roses Have Thorns is no exception.  I was sad to see it end and cannot wait to see what she offers us next!

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

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About the Book:
From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court.Like Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage--or your life?

In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth's circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen's downfall, Helena is forced to choose between her unyielding monarch and the husband she's not sure she can trust--a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.

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

Praise for Roses Have Thorns
"In Roses Have Thorns Sandra Byrd has given the reader another amazing heroine to tell the intimate story of England's greatest queen, Elizabeth I. What a unique point of view and deeply moving story Helena von Snakenborg provides. Byrd is especially adept at blending political and private lives. This is a timeless women's friendship novel as well as a poignant love story to cherish--both the roses and the thorns." (Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Mistress of Mourning )

"There is something golden about this tale of Elin, an eager young woman in a strange land, diligent in her duty but alive to love. A tale gracefully told, even as it renders the terrors of treachery that form the crucible of Elin's hard-won wisdom. A heartfelt story of loyalty, longing, life-long friendship, and the many seasons of the heart." (Barbara Kyle, author of The Queen's Gamble and Blood Between Queens)

"Beautiful prose and masterful research combine to bring this fascinating tale to life, treating the reader to fully realized characters and providing an original window through which we can view Elizabeth's court. Ms. Byrd's work will stand as an unforgettable contribution to Tudor fiction." (D.L. Bogdan, author of The Forgotten Queen) 


Thanks to the tour I have one copy of Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd and a Elizabeth I necklace  to giveaway. The book will be mailed from the tour/author/publisher, not me.  Open US only.  Ends 4/17.  Enter through the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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