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

The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd
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's review
Jun 25, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: award-winning-author, english-setting, historical-novel, latest-reads, paperback-i-own, woman-writer
Read in June, 2012

Sandra Byrd writes a captivating historical fiction with a solid spiritual base illuminated by the main character, Juliana St. John's propensity toward dreams foretelling the future. Miss St. John's invitation to Court to wait on Lady Kateryn Parr the eventual wife of Henry VIII and Queen of England, is the basis for this story. It is a tale that in and of itself has been told by numerous authors, but what makes Ms Byrd's book different is that she chooses to emphasize the relationship between the Queen and Juliana, and the underlying prophesies and spiritual guides that ruled them during the difficult times in which they lived. This spiritual base gives a whole new insight into the possibilities of thinking and reacting that must have gone on behind the tapestries and guarded quarters of Queen Kateryn, the surrogate mother to the soon-to-be king Edward, and Princesses Mary and Elizabeth I.

Further, the very interesting thing that captured my imagination was how similarities could be drawn between the helplessness of women during this historical period and modern day women. The fears of physical and emotional abuse, the terrors of having home and children removed, the horrors of helplessness before the law, and the betrayals of husbands and sometimes friends and family were real and relevant. Ms Byrd's characters were vivid and beautifully imagined with spirit and backbone! Her women were brave and steady in the face of what seemed insurmountable odds. And, the example of Kateryn Parr's faith and writings were evident in the novel. I wasn't aware she had been such a published author of spiritual books.

Historical facts were well disbursed in this book, which to me is always a plus in reading historical fiction. Information about the daughter of Kateryn Parr was fascinating! And, I enjoyed Sandra Byrd's notes at the end about her history.

A story of love and friendship, honesty and kindness in the face of life's largest and looming challenges, this is a book that will make a lasting impression on even the most well-read of historical fiction buffs. And all this reading like the best of fiction!!

I highly recommend it. You'll discover secrets you never knew before!

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