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The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr

(Ladies in Waiting #2)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  974 ratings  ·  155 reviews
The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII, as a young woman is caught between love and honor.

Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight in Marlborough. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father's business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn, or Katherine Parr.

Paperback, 338 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Howard Books (first published June 1st 2012)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  974 ratings  ·  155 reviews

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Start your review of The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr (Ladies in Waiting, #2)
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow! what to say?! Other than there was nothing I can say bad about this book! It has made it onto my ultimate favorites list, which is rare! VERY. :)
Mrs. Byrd always has a way to make me happy, sad, angry, ECSTATIC, hopeful, and thankful for a family that loves me. ;) And she is also one of the few authors who can actually make me cry! XD now THAT is a rare thing indeed! ;)
I also thank Mrs. Byrd for not only giving us a CLEAN romance, (and I do mean, clean; it's so hard to find good books these
Rio (Lynne)
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is Byrd's sophomore novel. With the market being over saturated with Tudor books, Byrd is one of the few authors who doesn't rewrite real history and embellish real character's lives for the sake of entertainment. The core of this book is the religious war going on at the time. As many of you know Katherine Parr aka King Henry VIII's final wife was a reformist and almost lost her head over it. Byrd tells the story of Kate's reign through the fictional Juliana, a Knight's daughter who Thomas ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

It's easy to feel sorry for all six of King Henry VIII's wives - through either political machinations, religious upheavals, or royal miscarriages, and the subsequent falls from the King's favor, most were not to blame for their less-than-happily-ever afters. Almost uniformly victims of the King himself and his Court, the Katherines, Annes and Janes of King Harry have all been thoroughly explored and reinvented in various novels, plays, movies in the 40
The Secret Keeper reminds me of why I both avoid and find fascinating stories about the reign of King Henry VIII. Everything was so precarious for everyone. Friendship was based on how much favor you had at any given time, and how easily are friends forgotten once they’ve fallen from that favor. The treatment of women and their lack of rights are hard to read about but true to the time period.

Kateryn Parr is an intriguing figure in history, in that of course she is the only wife to outlive/not b
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
A Fun History Lesson

Juliana St. John is a young gentlewoman who has prophetic dreams. She’s thrilled to join Kateryn Parr at Henry VIII’s court as a personal servant to the queen in fact the two women form a close bond much like mother and daughter. They both share a love of reading something that was frowned on or even punishable for women at that time. Byrd clearly conveys the rarity and value of books during the Tudor period. Parr even writes and publishes two of her own books. I enjoyed this
Jenny Q
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I tend to stay away from the morass of Tudor fiction crowding the bookshelves these days, but I was impressed with the originality of Sandra Byrd's first novel in her Ladies in Waiting trilogy, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, and I've long been a fan of Henry VIII's sixth wife, Kathryn Parr. (Or Kateryn, as she's called in The Secret Keeper.) So this is one Tudor novel I was really looking forward to reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The story follows Juliana St. John as Sir Thomas Seymou
Claire Ridgway
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After having enjoyed Sandra Byrd's first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, I was looking forward to the release of The Secret Keeper, particularly as it was about my second favourite of Henry VIII's wives: Catherine Parr.

The format of the novel is similar to To Die For, in that the narrator of the story is a lady-in-waiting. In this case, we see the events of the 1540s through the eyes of the fictional Juliana St John, who is chosen to attend Catherine (or Kate as she is know
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 t ...more
Colleen Turner
The Secret Keeper, the second book in the Ladies in Waiting series by Sandra Byrd, brings to life the glittering beauty and heartpounding treachery of the court surrounding Henry VIII's last wife, Kateryn Parr, through the eyes of a prophetic young woman, Juliana St. John. Risking everything for the love of her mistress, Juliana will not only work to keep the secrets of the Queen from those that wish to harm her, but will come across new secrets that shake the very core of her family.

Juliana gre
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 t
Cheryl Olson
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews-2012
As those in London are celebrating the 60 year reign of their beloved Queen Elizabeth with the Diamond Jubilee, we in America have cause to celebrate as well. For us, it’s the release of another “Tudor Treasure” The Secret Keeper which comes to us compliments of the multi- talented Sandra Byrd. For those that enjoyed her first offering of To Die For featuring Ann Boleyn, I am sure that you will equally enjoy this new book highlighting dear Henry’s last wife Kateryn Parr as told through the eyes ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
While many of the historical novels and movies of late featuring the wives of King Henry VIII are nothing more than sensationalism, Sandra Byrd shows that historical fiction can be accurate and still entirely sensational in her latest book The Secret Keeper.  Sweeping through 8-plus years of court intrigue, royalty, and grandeur, Sandra tells the story of Kateryn Parr through the eyes of a humble lady-in-waiting, Juliana St. John.  Juliana's journey begins innocently enough, but hairpin turns ar ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, historical
I'm so excited to share this amazing novel with you from Sandra Byrd! The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr is a historical novel that will whisk you away into another time full of court life, grand banquets, intrigue, and of course secrets.

The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd is the second in the Ladies in Waiting Series. It releases June 5, 2012.

The first book in the series is To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn (a 2012 Christy Award finalist). To Die For is an amazin
The Secret Keeper is the first of Sandra Byrd’s books I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sandra brings a new and rare story of Katheryn Parr. She is a person in English history that I have not read much about and now I’m intrigued by her. This story is told by Juliana St. John’s perspective, a daughter of a Knight.

Juliana’s mother expects her to marry the son of one of her father’s business men. But when Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane, comes to town in regards to the aff
Natalie Grueninger
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is not my first encounter with Sandra Byrd’s fiction. Last year, I read and reviewed To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn and enjoyed it tremendously, so I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to read the second book in the Ladies in Waiting series, The Secret Keeper.

Having taken a little break from all things Tudor to focus on some important projects at work, I was concerned that the story might not be able to hold my attention. Well, I needn’t have worried, after only a few pages I
Tudor Book Blog
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Tudor Book Blog Book Review (


Juliana St. John, who gracefully narrates the story, is a young woman who harbors dark secrets, one of which is her ability to see glimpses of the future. This “gift” is a terrifying burden to her, as she constantly worries that it will be found out and she will be accused of witchcraft. Her own mother disowns her after one of her visions comes true. However, a lucky happenstance meeting with the dashing Thomas Seymour, sen
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-books
To be posted on my blog 7/18 with giveaway:

Link to review on Amazon:


4.5 stars

The Secret Keeper is the second book I've read by Sandra Byrd and, while I really enjoyed To Die For, I think I enjoyed this one even more!

Even though this novel is fiction, it is also filled with history! To those familiar with Henry VIII's life, you'll definitely know some of the things that happen in The Secret Keeper, but I also think
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Sandra Byrd since her French Twist series. When I first heard about her Tudor novel, To Die For, I was uncertain that I would like it. I thought it might have been boring and dry, but my goodness, was I wrong. I loved that book, actually that’s an understatement, but close enough. When The Secret Keeper was released, I thought no way could Sandra do it again, this one won’t be as good. About two pages into the book (right about the time I got hooked), I had to ask myself why ...more
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wow! Does Sandra Byrd know how to write a book or what? I'll be the first to admit that I don't often seek out books set in 16th century England but since having read To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn last year I make a point to read all Ms. Byrd's stories. I don't know a lot about the Tudors or English royalty but reading books like The Secret Keeper makes it feel like I'm living it up at court or that I'm right in the midst of a royal intrigue.

Juliana St. John, a companion and maid of honor
Bluerose's  Heart
Juliana St. John narrates The Secret Keeper. Through a chance meeting with Sir Thomas Seymour and a series of events, she becomes a "lady in waiting" for Henry VIII's 6th wife, Kateryn Parr. Juliana has the gift of prophecy, but she lives in a time where this gift is extremely dangerous! If the wrong person discovered her gift, it could mean death, but she knows she shouldn't keep the prophecies secret. Throughout the story, she meets another lady with her same gift.

I thought the prophecy aspect
Margaret Chind
4 stars? 5 stars? Perhaps 4.5 stars or 4.75. Sandra Byrd weaves an incredible historical tale in the end days of Henry VIII and his last wife Katheryn Parr and beyond her life even. The connection of characters both in court and in a familial sense was very appropriate for the times and added and interest level. I started this one in a rush after completing To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn and had a hiccup for a little bit before I got to finish the last few chapters, but enjoyed every minute ...more
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I never seem to tire of the Tudor period but it's refreshing to be swept away with a unique perspective. The Secret Keeper is the story of Kateryn (Katherine) Parr through the eyes of fictional character Juliana St John.

Juliana is an intelligent young woman with the spiritual gift of prophecy, she's forthright, brave, as loyal as they come (something of a rarity) and a breath of fresh air for those tiring of the Tudor period. As lady in waiting, friend and trusted confidante to Kateryn
This story is about Katherine Parr as told from the view point of Juliana, a young women that is placed in the Parr household to assist Katherine, or Kate as her friends call her. Juliana becomes good and fast friends with Kate and assists her not only with her wardrobe, but in keeping her secrets as well. Kate gains favor with the King and although she loves another, when the king proposes, she accepts and Juliana goes with her. With richly written and researched details and delightful characte ...more
(4.5 stars)

I'll give this book one of the highest compliments I can bestow on a novel ... it kept me up until late in the night, wanting to finish it. :-)

This author took a gap in what is known about Tudor England and wove a satisfying, well-crafted story around it. She also created an intelligent, brave, likeable character, Julianna St. John, to offer insight into the life of Katherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII.

For me, this novel was a page-turner. History. Political Intrigue. Romance. A b
The Secret Keeper was a very interesting and fascinating retelling of Kateryn Parr's life as King Henry's last wife. Once again, Sandra Byrd weaves a life-like, mystical tale of one of a most infamous king's eight wives. The only thing that disturbed me was Kateryn's giving into sexual immorality with Thomas. Was this suspected to have happened in real life; or just something Sandra Byrd added in?

Besides that, I did savor it as another interesting read of kings, queens, ladies-in-waiting and all
Kindle edition, July 24 is $0.99
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw


(Reviewer’s note – I am an independent writer. I am also a freelance reviewer, and listed as such with Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. What this basically means is that I am on an email list and the publisher notifies me of new releases. If I see a book that I like, they will send me a free copy in exchange for my honest review of said book, as well as posting the review on my blogs. In other words, I cho
Beckie Burnham
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am woefully behind on some series, including Sandra Byrd’s Ladies in Waiting series that focuses on the Tudors. So I downloaded the audiobook of The Secret Keeper, put on my tennis shoes, and walked my way through the halls of intrigue in the last days of Henry VIII. This novel tells the story of Kateryn Parr, Henry’s sixth and final wife. The book is rich in historical detail — the author really did her research to bring the world of Tudor England to life. Besides the attention to furnishings ...more
Anne Harvey
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I seem to be living more in the past with my reading matter these days – perhaps no bad thing with the way things are going in the world! In this novel about Katherine Parr, I was able to lose myself in the last days of Henry VIII, with its attendant political upheaval. Perhaps not much different to today after all! The story is told through the words of Juliana St John who is invited, through her late father’s business connection, Sir Thomas Seymour, to become a lady-in-waiting to Katherine Par ...more
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Bestselling author Sandra Byrd has published fifty books over her editing and writing career. Her traditionally published books include titles by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, Tyndale House Publishers, WaterBrook Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and Bethany House Publishers.

Sandra’s series of historically sound Gothic romances launched with the best-selling Mist of Mid

Other books in the series

Ladies in Waiting (3 books)
  • To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn (Ladies in Waiting, #1)
  • Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I (Ladies in Waiting, #3)

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