I received this book from Howard Books for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.
The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII, as a young woman is caught between love and honor.
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 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 by Sandra Byrd is the second novel about The Court of Henry VIII, this time focusing on Queen Kateryn. I had the pleasure of reading To Die For first and The Secret Keeper is just as awesome. Sandra Byrd's novels are the first ones I have read about this time period. As a fan of Historical Fiction, when I read the description about The Secret Keeper, I knew I wanted to read it but wanted to read To Die For first. Sandra Byrd writes with much authority about this time period, the history surrounding this time, the ways of the courts, the laws and really all things to do with the setting of this book. I didn't have a lot of knowledge of this time period and I learned a lot. The Secret Keeper is its own book. There are some references to some details read in To Die For but Sandra Byrd makes sure that the readers do not feel like they have missed anything and makes sure that readers who read To Die For are not bogged down with details. The Secret Keepers moves at a good pace. It keeps you interested from start to finish. I really had a hard time putting it down. Sandra Byrd writes a beautifully descriptive story of Kateryn Parr and King Henry's Court that you feel like you are right there experiencing the whole thing. The Secret Keeper has a little bit of everything: love, betrayal, suspense, and action. The Secret Keeper centers around the religious struggles and laws of the time. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Historical Fiction, especially during Henry VIII's Court. You will not be disappointed. I look forward to reading whatever Sandra Byrd has coming next!