Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd
Ladies In Waiting #2
Howard Books, June 5, 2012
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Twitter: @sandrabyrd

Source: The publisher, for review

Rating: Awesome and engaging read
Click hereto read what this book is about.

My favorite part of The Secret Keeper would be the romance between Juliana St. John and Jamie Hart. The ending, no I won’t ruin it for you, is beautiful. It was befitting a journey filled with bitterness, deception and disloyalty. I loved Juliana’s strength and character, her ability to carry the burden of her gift of prophecy and her willingness to be loyal. Especially since loyalty in the time of Henry VIII was only another way to gain power. I don’t have much experiences with historical fiction of any sort, so I guess in the grand scheme of things I can’t compare this to anything that’s already out there. While I do enjoy history, I like it best in small doses. I’ve never had the opportunity-or desire- to dig real deep in the reign of Henry VIII. So there were moments where I was a bit confused as to who was whom and the implication of such connections. I don’t know how close to the mark Byrd came or how big of a miss it was.  But, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the brief glimpse she gives us.
The story showed the dark side of people (John Camp, Thomas and Edward Seymour comes to mind)as well as the light side (Julianna St, John, Hugh St. John Jr. & Sr.  as well as Jamie Hart). There are quite a few characters that fall into the grey area. Kateryn Parr was one of those characters , to my great disappointment.  I liked her in the beginning. She was generous and trying to create change in a positive way.  She married the king, though her heart belonged to another, because she felt that was what God was leading her to do. But then everything that happened to Lady Elizabeth kind of ruined her for me.  To me, she failed when it mattered most.
This was a heartbreakingly beautiful story. Obviously a lot of research and hard work went into the making of the story of Mistress Juliana. She came alive with such vibrant and volatile life and it did so in such a seamless and engaging way. Sandra Byrd is an author that has made it on my “watch” list. I will definitely be checking out more of her books.
Recommendation: A must read for everyone!
What’s next:   Ladies in Waiting #3: Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth, due out in 2013.  
This book was given to me, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Always Shine,
Starr K

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