Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Secret Keeper

Author: Sandra Byrd
Goodreads Rating: 4.38 Stars
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Pages: 354
Reviewed By: Nicole

I got this book from Netgalley, and it's no secret why I requested this title. I am wholly in love with Historical Fiction and specifically anything that has to do with Tudor England. Naturally this book would catch my eye. Getting approved for it was rather exciting and I'm so glad that I got the chance to review this book.

Goodreads Synopses:

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 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.

This book made me happy in the end, but through it was a little bored. I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again, for the most part the farther in history you go the more a historical fiction is just a retelling rather than a book with a traditional plot. For the most part in this book, nothing really happened, it was the retelling of Katherine Parr's rise to the throne and subsequent fall through the eyes of a lady-in-waiting.

There was very little romance in it, I would say maybe 10% of the book dealt with the romantic aspects of Juliana. For me, that would have certainly livened things up, but there was plenty liveliness going on in the book. I felt bad for Juliana as she experienced heartbreak and the letdown of living at court. Worst of all was her rape scene, where everything that rape victims today go through, she experinced. The self blame, and the embarrassment and the trepidation of being intimate again. For this book to make me feel as though I was actually in her shoes stopped me cold because as she felt all of this pain, I almost felt like it was my own pain.

I thought the last 30 or so pages dragged on with Juliana trying to find a new home for baby Mary after her father was dispatched. As you read the book, you know where she is headed, and I just had to wait for the book to tell me thats where it was going. I liked that this was a new look at what happened to Mary Seymour. So much mystery surrounds what happened to the baby, but I only found one other book that explores what happened to her.

I bumped this book up an extra .5 was because of the ending, it made me feel all warm and gooey inside which was a great way to end the night of reading. This book was really predictable, although that could be just because I know an awful lot about this era. It is an easy book to explore if you're new to the genre or you're just interested in the Tudor Era. I found that some scenes were similar to ones that I had seen in the Tudor show, but that could just be because when you're writing about events that happened with real people, there is only so creative you can be.

Byrd has another book out about Anne Boleyn, and once I dig myself out from under this BEA pile, I think I would definitely give the other book a shot as well.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great review and recommendation! I love Historical Fiction too and I’m currently reading “Turkoise” by Joan M. Sargent. If you go to her website,, you can find out more about her and the book. It’s truly captivating, and I highly recommend it! I’ve been looking for another book for when I’m finished with this one and I think I may check out "The Secret Keeper"! Thanks again!



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