Hello, readers! I have a special treat for you today. (And no, for once, it has nothing to do with fear.) The blog I normally use for book reviews hasn’t been working of late, so I decided to share one here!
Please read on to see what I thought of Sandra Byrd’s The Secret Keeper.
Author: Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Howard Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First there was To Die For: A novel of Anne Boleyn. Now Sandra Byrd returns to regale us with The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.
As King Henry VIII’s last wife, Kateryn Parr enters a world of opposition and intrigue when she steps into his court. The story is told through the eyes of Juliana St. John-a young maiden who has come along to attend Kateryn.
The court may be full of trickery and deceit, but it is Juliana who may hold the biggest secret.
Not only does Juliana have the gift of prophecy, but in one of her visions she has also seen a prominent family friend shredding the dress of a very high-born woman.
Now Juliana is left to wonder: was she brought to the court for such a time as this? Will she have the courage to intervene when the time comes? And will she ever find true love of her own?
Once again, I couldn’t put this book down. I was transported to the very courts of King Henry himself. There was also a huge twist in the middle that completely surprised me.
Before reading The Secret Keeper I knew little of Kateryn Parr, so it was both fun and enlightening to get to know her through Byrd’s adaptation. She was a fascinating woman, and played a large role in the upbringing of Queen Elizabeth I.
Likewise, Juliana also played a strong female character. I especially loved how Byrd gave her the gift of prophecy. That’s something I’d never seen before in fiction, and I felt she made it both relevant and interesting.
The one and only reason I shaved off a star for The Secret Keeper was because I felt as if it was a little too similar to the first book, To Die For. Each book is set in King Henry VIII’s court, each has a queen with strong protestant leanings, and each has a lady’s maid who cannot have the love of her life because of social reasons. Because of the similarity between plots, it came down to a “Favorites” game: which was my personal favorite? For me, it was To Die For. So I feel as though I may be a little biased.
However, I’m confident those who haven’t read To Die For will find nothing to criticize in The Secret Keeper, and there are several variants to keep it interesting and worth reading for those who have.
There is one scene that depicts a rape, so please be advised.
But overall, I thought The Secret Keeper was fabulous. It’s one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, and I eagerly look forward to Byrd’s future installment: Roses Have Thorns: A novel of Elizabeth I.
Based on these first two books, I have a feeling this will be a strong series that readers won’t soon forget!
(Thanks to the author and Howard Books for giving me this book to review.)