Wednesday, June 20, 2012

HF Virtual Book Tour: The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd

Title: The Secret Keeper
Author: Sandra Byrd
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Howard Books
Publish Date: June 5, 2012
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From "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 Parr.

Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his business with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in the Parr household for “finishing” and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly. For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king’s daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.

As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII’s court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will upset everything she thought she once held dear."

My Two Cents:

Kateryn Parr is one of Henry VIII's queens that I don't know that much about. I've read a little bit about her and what stood out for me most before I read this book is that she was the one that survived Henry VIII. This book definitely shed a little more light on her life for me. She definitely was a fascinating person. I didn't realize that she had been married before she married Henry VIII. This was really interesting since there seemed to be such a large focus on virginity in royal circles.

The story is told from the point of view of Juliana, one of Kateryn Parr's ladies-in-waiting. She is charged with keeping a lot of the inner workings of Kateryn's household and ultimately the King's household to herself. And there is a lot of secret keeping to be had. Discretion is important when you're dealing with Henry VIII. Since Kateryn is the last wife, she knows that she can't step a toe out of line when it comes to the King or the risk of death will be quite high. When Henry VIII dies, Kateryn remarries Thomas Seymour (who seems like he will do just about anything to gain more power). Thomas Seymour has wandering eyes and Elizabeth, King Henry's daughter is living in the Seymour household so of course, Seymour starts messing around with Elizabeth without trying to hide it at all. Then there is the issue of Mary, Thomas and Kateryn's daughter. She is sort a mysterious figure. No one knows for sure what happened to hear or even whether or not she lived through her childhood. A little mystery is always a good thing. There is tons and tons of intrigue and turns in this book. You want to keep reading just to see what happens next.

I loved this book but I felt like it moved a little bit too fast in some parts (it's possible, especially with really good books, you guys). For instance, I would have wanted to hear a little bit more about Henry VIII's courtship of Kateryn Parr. Kateryn Parr seemed like she had a good head on her shoulders. She seemed like a nice person. She was independently wealthy from her husband. I kind of wondered what drew her to Henry VIII. He didn't have a great reputation with the wife beheading and what not.

Byrd does a great job of pulling you in to the realm of the Tudor throne with all of its intricacies and delicacies. This is the kind of book that you read in one sitting.

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour (come back to ABA on Thursday for an interview and giveaway):

Monday, June 4th
Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 5th

Wednesday, June 6th

Thursday, June 7th
Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
Review at Always with a Book

Friday, June 8th
Author Interview & Giveaway at The Owl Bookmark Blog

Monday, June 11th
Author Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, June 12th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, June 14th
Review at Reviews by Molly

Monday, June 18th

Tuesday, June 19th
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, June 20th
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, June 21st
Review & Giveaway at Royal Reviews

Friday, June 22nd
Review at A Novel Affair
Review at Broken Teepee 
Author Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Monday, June 25th
Review at My Reading Room
Review at A Girl's Legacy
Review & Giveaway at The Bookworm 
Review, Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Drey's Library
Tuesday, June 26th
Wednesday, June 27th
Thursday, June 28th
Author Interview & Giveaway at My Reading Room
Friday, June 29th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader
Monday, July 2nd
Review & Giveaway at Bloggin' 'Bout Books

Wednesday, July 4th
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Thursday, July 5th
Friday, July 6th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Tanzanite's Castle Full of Books


  1. I can never seem to get enough of reading about Henry VIII and his court and this one sounds good. Thanks for the great review!

    1. I really liked this one because it focused on one of the wives that I didn't really know much about!

  2. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing my book. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Oooh, the always fascinating Tudors! I've never read anything about Kateryn Parr either so this is definitely one I need to add to my list - great review!


Hi! Welcome to A Bookish Affair. If you leave a comment, I will try to either reply here or on your site!

As of 6/6/2011, this book is now an awards free zone. While I appreciate the awards, I would rather stick to reviewing more great books for you than trying to fill the requirements.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...