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Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I

(Ladies in Waiting #3)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  667 ratings  ·  152 reviews
From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court. Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage—or your life?

In 1565, sevent
Paperback, 325 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Howard Books
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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Start your review of Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I (Ladies in Waiting, #3)
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
A light enjoyable read about one of Queen Elizabeth I's ladies in waiting. It is well written and quite a satisfying story ...more
As the third book in the Ladies in Waiting series, Roses Have Thorns centers on Elizabeth I and one of her closest ladies-in-waiting, Helena.

I confess, this book felt a little different than the first two, more faster-paced or something. A lot of years passed in this book, and some events weren't elaborted on. But it still held my interest and I enjoyed it; even though I may have not been as caught up in the story as the other two books.

I learned a lot about Elizabeth I, and while I still feel s
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
So, I went into this knowing it was a Tudor book (featuring Elizabeth), but so many people swear by Byrd's novels I decided to give it a go. What I didn't realize until I got my galley was that this is a Howard Book release. (Howard Books is Simon & Schuster's faith-based imprint and belongs to the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.) So I must confess I was immediately apprehensive, being not Christian and not inclined toward inspirational fiction.

My apprehension was unnecessary.

I had
Debra Brown
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I received this novel free of charge from the publisher for an honest review.

Roses Have Thorns is the third of the Ladies in Waiting Tudor-era novels by Sandra Byrd. It introduces the reader to a Swedish historical woman, Elin von Snakenberg, or as she came to be known in England, Helena, Marchioness of Northampton. Through the story of Elin we come into the court of Elizabeth I where we are brought face to face with the carefully researched ups-and-downs and at times life-and-death intrigues of
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
I went into this expecting a mix of historical and romance fiction with dramatic drama in Elisabeth I court. I got what I wanted, but wasn't quite the entertaining read. But it was good story and I might read more by Sandra Byrd. ...more
The third and final book in the Ladies in Waiting series does not disappoint! I think this one was probably my favorite of the three, although it is hard to pick. I don't actually remembering hearing anything about Elin von Snakenborg, which strikes me as odd since history claims her as one of the queen's closest friends, and in rank, she was the highest ranking lady during that time, just below the queen. Elin, or Helena, as she comes to be called, is an endearing character, and as I got to kno ...more
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sandra Byrd has done it again. Just when I thought I couldn't become anymore intrigued by Tudor history she pens another stellar book that makes me want to know more, more, more! Each story in the Ladies in Waiting series, Roses Have Thorns included, has an authentic feel. From clothing, to court life, to dialogue you can't help become immersed in the story and feel as if you are a part of it. The best thing is that not only are historical settings and figures brought to life but romance as well ...more
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Captivating. Detailed. Touching.
Sandra Byrd is the Jane Austen of Tudor Fiction! :D
It is rare to find clean Tudor fiction, let alone Christian Tudor fiction; but Mrs. Byrd's stories never disappoint! I am always grateful for her wholesome, rich novels- they are high up on my favorites list, and I already can't wait to re-read them later on down the road and experience these intriguing historical treasures again!
Thank you Mrs. Byrd, for allowing these stories to be a part of my life! :
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars. Just shy of her seventeenth birthday, Lady Elin von Snakenborg's future is in flux -- though she is engaged, her fiance's eye has turned toward her younger sister, jeopardizing her future just as she prepares to embark on an arduous journey to the English court as one of the Swedish Princess Cecelia's attendants. With her future at home uncertain, Elin turns her attentions to life at the English court and its charismatic queen, Elizabeth I. When Elin catches the eye of the Marquess of ...more
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: blog-tour
3.5 Stars

Review: For years, over her entire educational studies, Elin Von Snakenborg has prepared for her trip with the Swedish Princess Cecilia to the English shores to visit Queen Elizabeth. The woman, the Swedish monarchy once thought may marry their king. As one of Cecilia’s ladies-in-waiting, Elin never expected to be swept into the Queen’s court. Her knowledge of essential oils and herbs interests Elizabeth and Elin immediately captures the fancy of the kindhearted, older and widowed Lord
Bluerose's  Heart
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, christian
Elin von Snakenborg starts out as a young, 16 year old young lady. She makes a long, cold journey with Sweden's Princess Cecelia to visit Queen Elizabeth I in England. She soon meets an older man, and the prospect of marriage is on the horizon. She makes the difficult decision to stay in England as a lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth I, and takes on the English name, Helena. After all, her dowry has been gambled away, and her fiance is cheating with her sister. Staying in England looks much mor ...more
Roses Have Thorns is the third novel I have read of Sandra’s and I have thoroughly enjoyed everyone single one of them. With each book, I say, “No, this one is my favorite.” I can’t decide! She not only gives you wonderful, strong characters but gives you a fascinating and fresh look into the Tudor dynasty. What I like most about her stories is that she does not add brutal and graphic scenes but gives you a rich and vivid picture of how Tudor life was like. Which Sandra has tastefully crafted an ...more
DNF at chapter 16 out of 24.

A historical fiction about Elizabeth I's reign, Roses have Thorns, by Sandra Byrd, provides an adequate glimpse into the life of a high ranking courtier in the monarch's intimate circle.

The reader gets all the minutiae of caring daily for the Queen (warming her bedsheets, lotioning her hands, unpinning her dress etc) as well as some very basic insight into her psychology (the deep impact of her mother's death, the pragmatic reasons not to marry and to remain England
Charity U
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh, it was good! It was so much fun (and so interesting) to get to know Queen Elizabeth I a little better. I really did feel like I knew her pretty well by the end. And I love the cover too – more in person than online. The purple and gold are very stunning, and the entire trilogy looks so lovely all together on my shelf! Elin/Helena, the main heroine, is a lady in waiting to Elizabeth I and turned out to be a fascinating woman to “journey” with through this book, as she was telling the story he ...more
Sep 25, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a very well-written account of a Swedish woman who comes to visit England with the princess and ends up staying. The subtitle says a novel of Elizabeth I but it is more a novel of Elin and her life spent in an English court after coming from Sweden. I admire Elin and her strength when dealing with her fiance cheating on her, her first husband waiting too long to marry her, and her second husband hiding things from her. Elin is the type of strong female character in the Elizabethan age t ...more
Kathleen E.
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Byrd, ©2013

What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage—or your life?
In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiancé has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness
Lynelle Clark
Step back in time and enjoy this wonderful written story.

The Elizabeth 1 Reign was one of the most interesting time periods in history many spoke about. Books have been written and movies made from this time that changed many of England's views, religion and politics. All due to a strong willed woman that knew her duty, her love for her people and her firm believe in an Almighty God.
She was not only a queen but a woman that searched for acceptance, love and devotion from all those attending her
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan of Sandra Byrd's Ladies in Waiting series which centers around the three Tudor Queens and their closest ladies. The first two installments, To Die For and The Secret Keeper both made it onto my favorites list when I read them. Roses Have Thorns is the third and final installment in this series.

In this book, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg arrives from Sweden and becomes one of Queen Elizabeth's ladies in waiting and eventually one of the queen's highest ranking ladies. In t
Review originally posted at

I absolutely adore historical fiction, and Tudor court novels are by far my favourites. I've read so many by now that I could easily write my very own detailed book about the Tudor monarchs. So why do I keep reading them then? A very good question, and I think it's mostly to do with the fact that I love history, and also I just love the descriptions of life at court which is just so complex and other-worldly when you look at it from
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The year is 1564, and 17 year old Elin Ulfsdotter, von Snakenborg travels by ship from Sweden with an entourage of the Swedish royal court. Their destination is England and principally with Queen Elizabeth. During her departure Elin finds out her fiancée and her dowry have slipped away. After arriving in England Elin decides to make England her new home. Elin changed her name to Helena, she became a lady in waiting to the queen, and later married the Earl of Northampton. Helena rose soci
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Roses Have Thorns

From the acclaimed author of To Die For
comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court.

Book Summary

Like Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage--or your life?

In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treac
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“He was a pawn wishing to be promoted to king, and minor pieces are oft sacrificed early in a game. The game, though, is always between the two most powerful pieces, queens.”

It’s release day for Roses Have Thorns by the ever wonderful Sandra Byrd! So go buy it. Right now! :) Now on to the review:

Can we take a moment to take about this family’s drama? I mean seriously. I could not handle never knowing who to fully trust. Like ever. My sister wants me dead? How sweet. Someone tried to poison me wi
Meagan Myhren-bennett
Roses Have Thorns
A Novel of Elizabeth I
By Sandra Byrd

I have never read Sandra Byrd's work before, though I have to admit wanting to, so this blog tour was the perfect time to acquaint myself with a new (for me) author. I have read other books about Elizabeth I in the past as my mom has been a Tutor / Stuart history buff and I had easy access to this titles through the years. Roses Have Thorns is definitely an excellent addition to the library of anyone interested in this time period.

Roses Have T
Read This Review & More Like It At Ageless Pages Reviews

Roses Have Thorns spans about 25 years, starting when Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden in the company of Princess Cecelia, (about 5 years into Elizabeth’s reign) and ending around the time Mary, Queen of Scots, was finally executed. As is often the case with novels covering such a long time period, a lot of things are rushed or passed right over. In addition, Elin, or Helena as she adopts after choosing to stay in England, is a Maid of Hon
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sandra Byrd has done it again. She has thoroughly engaged me in a historical novel with intrigue romance and characters I truly care about. Roses Have Thorns is a wonderful installment in the Ladies in Waiting series.

Elin in a wonderful Lady in Waiting to watch move through the ranks of Queen Elizabeth's court. As she comes to England as a foriegner from Sweden and decides to stay when a mutual interest develops between her and a man of high ranking in the court. But as she stays all is not as i
Kathleen Kelly
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Roses Have Thorns is the third and last installment of the Ladies in Waiting series by Sandra Byrd. Elin von Snakenborg (Helena) is 17 when she comes to England and chooses to stay. She becomes one of Queen Elizabeth I's Ladies in Waiting and serves as such until the Queen's death. I had not heard of Helena before so I found her story very interesting and refreshing. Most of us who read historical fiction know the Tudor era and most of the queen's court are well known so it is really nice to rea ...more
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathleen by: Passages To The Past
The Ladies in Waiting series made me curious about a group of people, ladies who worked for the Tudors. It was less about the Tudors than about the constellation of courtiers who revolved about them and what their lives consisted of.Curiosity about people is the essence of my life and surely the reason I read books and do research.

Roses Have Thorns was an awesome book about a very unique woman ,whose life was outside the norm for a lady of the court. Elin, or as she came to call herself, Helena
Brandi (Rambles of a SAHM)
In Roses Have Thorns we are taken into the inner circle of Queen Elizabeth I. The story is told through the perspective of Helen von Snakenborg, who is a confidant of the queen and the second most powerful woman in all of England.

If you are a fan of Tudor history you are really going to enjoy this book! Sandra Byrd has woven a tale that is compelling yet tasteful. She gives you insight into just how turbulent the times were. We are reminded of how much shifting between Catholic and Protestant r
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fascinating story. A must read if you love Tudor history and/or Elizabeth I

I have read very little of this genre so was not sure what to expect with this novel. I an happy to say that this was a brilliant book. I started reading it late Thursday (March 21st) and finished it on Saturday (March 23rd). Every spare moment I had I gave to this book as I was so intrigued by what was going to happen next.
As I have already said, I have never been a huge fan of Tudor history, but this book ha
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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)
  • The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr (Ladies in Waiting, #2)

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