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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"The Secret Keeper" by Sandra Byrd"~A Novel of Kateryn Parr

Prophetic dreams, rape, suspicion, intrigue and terror--all in a man's world...this could be modern day!  But, it's the world of Tudor England in the time of Henry VIII's last Queen Kateryn Parr as told by the capable hand and writings of Sandra Byrd in "The Secret Keeper." 

A Summary of the Book:
Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight in Marlborough. 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 business with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in the Parr 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 upset everything she thought she once held dear.



Particulars of the Book :
Published by:  Simon and Schuster
Pages:  320 and Book Group Discussion Pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction/Tudor Period
Author:  Sandra Byrd
Author's Website:  http://sandrabyrd.com
Purchase this book on: Amazon



More About Sandra the Author:
After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd persevered to publish more than three dozen books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a finalist for the Christy Awards. Her historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn was listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2011. Sandra's YA fiction has also been recognized within the industry. Asking for Trouble, the first in the London Confidential series, was a finalist for the ECPA Medallion of Excellence award.

A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra is also a non-fiction writer and author, with articles in numerous publications and periodicals. Sandra is also passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self publication. As such, she has mentored hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

Sandra resides in Washington State with her husband Michael, a chaplain, their two children, and a circus dog named Brie.


The Bookish Dame Reviews :
Sandra Byrd writes a captivating historical fiction with a solid spiritual base illuminated by the main character, Juliana St. John's propensity toward dreams foretelling the future.  Miss St. John's invitation to Court to wait on Lady Kateryn Parr, the eventual wife of Henry VIII and Queen of England, is the basis for this story.  It is a tale that in and of itself has been told by numerous authors, but what makes Ms Byrd's book different is that she chooses to emphasize the relationship between the Queen and Juliana, and the underlying prophesies and spiritual guides that ruled them during the difficult times in which they lived. 

This spiritual base gives a whole new insight into the possibilities of thinking and reacting that must have gone on behind the tapestries and guarded quarters of Queen Kateryn, the surrogate mother to the soon-to-be king Edward, and Princesses Mary and Elizabeth I.  How fascinating to imagine how a woman of faith influenced the future king and queens of England.

Further, the very interesting thing that captured my imagination was how similarities could be drawn between the helplessness of women during this historical period and of modern day women.  The fears of physical and emotional abuse, the terrors of having home and children removed, the horrors of helplessness before the law, and the betrayals of husbands and sometimes friends and family were real and relevant. 

Ms Byrd's characters were vivid and beautifully imagined with spirit and backbone!  Her women were brave and steady in the face of what seemed insurmountable odds.  And, the example of Kateryn Parr's faith and writings were evident in the novel.  I wasn't aware she had been such a well published author of books.


Historical facts were evenly disbursed in this book, which to me is always a plus in reading historical fiction.  Information about the daughter of  Kateryn Parr was fascinating!  And, I enjoyed Sandra Byrd's notes at the end about her history.


A story of love and friendship, honesty and kindness in the face of life's largest and looming challenges, this is a book that will make a lasting impression on even the most well-read of historical fiction buffs.  And all this reading like the best of fiction!!


I highly recommend it.  You'll discover secrets you never knew before!

4 stars

Thanks for stopping by!                     Deborah/TheBookishDame

2 comments:

Juli Rahel

Ooh I love stories about the Henry VIII court! And it's nice to see one of these novels in which women are strong! I'm an old follower! ;)
My Teaser 
Juli @ Universe in Words

Candy M

Sounds very intriguing! I too love strong women. Wonderful review!

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