The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd
Howard Books / June 2012
About the book:
What she sees in secret, she may not tell.
Mistress Juliana St. John is the lovely, forthright daughter of a prosperous knight’s family. Though all expect her to marry the son of her late father’s business partner, time and chance interrupt, sending her to the sumptuous but deceptive court of Henry VIII.
Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane, returns to Wiltshire to conclude his affairs with Juliana’s father’s estate and chances upon her reading as lector in the local church. He sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves and wants most to please, Kateryn Parr. Juliana’s mother agrees to have her placed with Parr for a season and Juliana goes, though reluctantly.
For she keeps a secret.
As Juliana accompanies Kateryn Parr to court, Henry’s devout sixth queen raises the stakes for all reformers. Support of firebrand Anne Askew puts the queen and her ladies in life-threatening jeopardy, as does the queen’s desire to influence her husband’s—and the realm’s—direction and beliefs. Later, without Henry’s strong arm, the court devolves to competition, duplicity, and betrayal. The risks could not be higher as Juliana must choose between love and honor, personal fulfillment and sacrifice. Ultimately, her course is driven by a final kept secret, one that undoes everything she thought she knew.
The Secret Keeper is the second book I've read by Sandra Byrd and, while I really enjoyed To Die For, I think I enjoyed this one even more!
Even though this novel is fiction, it is also filled with history! To those familiar with Henry VIII's life, you'll definitely know some of the things that happen in The Secret Keeper, but I also think you'll learn some things you didn't know (I for one did). Especially regarding Kateryn Parr - I knew she was Henry's sixth wife and the one that survived, but there was so much I learned about her in this novel that I didn't know. Plus, it was in the concept of the story, so I think that makes it easier to remember. :)
At times, it was hard to get into the story because time seemed to move rather quickly. I will say, though, I loved how each chapter listed the season(s), year(s), and place(s) that chapter would take place in - I found that helpful.
It was a little weird how a couple of people in this story received visions/prophecies and while I don't think that sort of thing happens now-a-days, it did fit the story.
There are some things in The Secret Keeper that might now be good for younger readers - a slightly graphic rape scene and some things following that. I didn't think any of it was offensive, but just not for young readers.
The characters were so great! I especially liked James Hart - he was very caring and a great guy. He was probably my favorite character from this book. Meg (from To Die For) makes a small appearance in this book, which was great - I liked finding out a little about what was happening in her life. I can only hope that the characters from The Secret Keeper appear in Sandra's next novel, Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I!
Overall, I really liked the whole book and loved the ending! A wonderful historical read! I recommend it to mature readers who enjoy historical novels. 4 1/2 stars.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*
Was my review helpful? If so, please click "yes" on Amazon. Thanks!
Enter to win a copy of The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd! US only. Ends 12:01am (EST) on 8/01/2012
Enter via the Rafflecopter below.