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

The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd
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Jun 04, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction
Read in May, 2012

In The Secret Keeper, a captivating historical fiction that highlights the spiritual life of Queen Kateryn Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry the VIII, tragedy strikes “for certes”! Appropriately, Sandra weaves the reoccurring theme of hope for women living in uncertain times into her tale - a theme today’s woman will find relatable.

While Juliana St. John’s character is inspirational, she is not painted on the canvas of a perfect world. Some characters’s flaws are heartbreaking. But through the eyes of Juliana, a knight's daughter turned lady-in-waiting for the queen, the reader experiences compassion for those receiving injustice.

Added to the spiritual theme is Juliana’s little understood gift of prophecy. Sandra handles this Biblical gift in a believable, accurate way. Juliana, fearing she will be declared a witch, keeps her dreams to herself but draws courage from them when it's time to act.

Once picked up, The Secret Keeper is hard to put down. Sandra’s baited storytelling ability leads the reader through the pages of history with rich detail on period dress and social customs, quotations from Kateryn Parr’s published books on prayer and meditation, and fearsome edicts issued by King Henry VIII during his last days.

The 352-page book includes family trees for Juliana St. John, King Henry VIII, Kateryn Parr, the Seymour family, and other key characters. In the back, Sandra includes a “Reading Group Guide” for book clubs.

Be sure to read the first book in her Ladies in Waiting series, To Die For, on the life of Anne Boleyn. It will be hard to wait for book three, Roses Have Thorns, due out next year.
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