Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews's Reviews > The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr

The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd
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May 15, 12

Read in May, 2012

Life in King Henry's Court definitely had advantages for men, but not women, but the life in the 1500's was quite interesting. There were ladies in the Queen's Court that waited and served her and gentlemen who went to war. No one could disobey the King and his edicts. One false move, and it could be off with your head, imprisonment, or a burning at the stake.

Life seemed quite harsh with the many do's and dont's in terms of religion and what was required and expected in terms of following what the King declared. It definitely was a difficult life during those times....people had to fear for their lives as well as to be concerned that they didn't do anything against the King.

Lady Juliana St. John is the main character. The book focused around her and her activities in the court and in her personal life. It also focused on a secret that kept her from happiness and it also focused on her prophesies that seemed to come true in time. She also discovered another secret toward the end of the book that has been kept for a long time. No matter what was transpiring, Juliana had a part in it and was loved no matter what. Her life revolved around the Queen, and she originally was brought to the castle for the purpose to serve the Queen and to learn the ways of the Court. The women that tended the Queen were friendly but each one was worried they would do or say something wrong. A few of the ladies were always looking to see who was not following what the King had made law and they included the Queen in their watch. Everyone in the court had to be proper yet the undercurrent was less than favorable. Julianna was very loved by the Queen, but I think also used by her.

The book is historical and very informative. The author makes you feel as if you are in the book living the lives of the characters and feeling their terror, their pain, and at times their joy, but I definitely am glad I did not live in that era. The formality and the strictness would have driven me crazy.

It was intriguing, though, in terms of history, and I liked the author's notes at the end that told how the lives continued after the last year in her book of 1550 was noted. The extensive Family Trees definitely helped spell out who was who. The author did excellent, extensive research.

The ending was redeeming and uplifting even as the turmoil of life in the King's Court and in the 1500's continued. Seeing the set of rules the citizens had to live by and following Juliana throughout it all was very educational. Even though I am an avid history buff and loved the storyline, my rating is going to be a 4/5 because it did get tedious at times.

I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
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