Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Secret Keeper Giveaway and Review

To celebrate her wonderful new release, author Sandra Byrd has graciously offered a giveaway to coincide with my review! The prize? Charming Henry VIII and his Six Wives Drink Charms!

Though I normally post these on The Tudor Book Blog, I'm going to post my review here for this giveaway. It will also appear under "My Reviews" on The Tudor Book Blog.

Review for The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd


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, sends Juliana to the court of Henry VIII to serve as maid of honor to Katherine Parr.

Unlike her own mother, Katherine Parr treats Juliana as a daughter, fulfilling that longing for maternal love within Juliana’s soul. As their relationship grows, Juliana becomes the Queen’s “Secret Keeper,” one of the few Parr can trust in the tumultuous and treacherous world of the Tudor Court. Throughout the novel, Juliana’s visions offer interesting insight into the workings of the court, as well as into her own past...


Katherine Parr
Though the novel follows the a fairly predictable plot, Byrd has a way of plotting it out so it doesn’t seem so predictable. Adding the element of Juliana’s gift was a brilliant and unique stroke one doesn’t usually see in the world of Tudor literature. Also, placing this novel at the end of Henry VIII’s reign and afterwards, rather than during the “Great Matter” was a breath of fresh air. Certainly, novels have been written about Katherine Parr, however Byrd's offers a unique twist by throwing Juliana's gift into the mix...especially in conjunction with Parr's near arrest and possible execution.

There are a wide range of characters in this novel. I feel that Byrd did an excellent job of characterizing them, especially the historical ones. I really liked how Byrd portrayed Katherine Parr. She is a beautiful woman, inside and out, always eager to help others. 

The men in the novel are also well portrayed. Henry VIII is an imposing character, much like he was in To Die For. Though he has aged since the first novel, Henry is not some invalid who has no power...he is a terrifying presence who can, on a whim, destroy everything Juliana holds dear. Thomas Seymour is dashing and charming as ever. However, he isn't the only man Juliana meets. Not surprisingly, she also has a relationship with a handsome young man who is seeking a knighthood. This lovely distraction adds a bit of romance to an otherwise suspenseful novel. 

Juliana, however, was harder to relate with. I admit, by the end of the novel I really liked her, but it took some time for me to connect with her.

Overall, I give this novel 5 Tudor Roses!

The only criticism I had (and this is just me personally) is that it took me longer to connect with Juliana than it did Meg Wyatt in Byrd’s first novel, To Die For. However, I think I enjoyed this novel better. I love the supernatural element to it that I haven’t often found in other Tudor novels I’ve read.

I highly recommend this novel to those old and new to Tudor fiction. It is a good read that one is easily sucked into.

A huge thank you to Sandra Byrd for providing me with a copy of her wonderful novel, and the prize for this giveaway!


Now, for the Giveaway! There are two things you must do to enter:

1) Do one of the following:
  • Sign up for Sandra Byrd's Newsletter here (which also enters you to win a kindle!)
  • Friend Sandra Byrd on Facebook 
  • Follow Sandra Byrd on Twitter
2) Leave a comment here to let me know which one you have done and you will be entered to win this giveaway!

You have until Midnight on June 22nd to enter. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on June 23rd. Good luck!
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  1. Hi, I love the sound of this book and if I am not lucky enough to win a copy I will deffinatly be buying it, Trace Jackson

  2. I've added Sandra as a friend on Facebook!

  3. I've added Sandra on Twitter (and I was already a Facebook pal and get her newsletter). She's awesome. :)

  4. Hello Tudor Tattler! Well,after you went and tempted me with another great book to read,of course I had to sign-up to be on Sandra"s Newsletter! I'm still finishing-up "The Fall of Ann Boleyn", but I'd love to read " The Secret Keeper" when I'm done! So it would be so nice to win a Nook, for all these great books! Thanks, Pamela Kapustka/

  5. Yay!
    I've friended Sandra on Facebook (as I am already a newsletter subscriber!)
    The book looks very interesting and I would love to win a copy!

  6. I'm friends with Sandra on FB and a follower on Twitter. Would LOVE to win! :-)

  7. Hello, I just subscribed to Sarah's newsletter!! I'd love to read this book!!
    Eliza elizapol(at)hotmail(dot)com


  9. I have asked Sarah as a friend of Facebook. Sounds like a book that I want to read during the summer.

  10. Hello, I just subscribed to Sandra's news letter and following her on Twitter. I just finish reading her book To Die For. Can't wait to read this one.

    Thank You,


  11. I signed up for the newsletter as well as sent Sandra a friend request on fb. Thank you for the time and effort you put into your website. I can get lost for hours :)

    Heather Crouse

  12. Helllloooo.... I have done all 3. I followed on facebook, twitter and subscribed...Thanks

  13. I have followed Sandra on Twitter, we're friends on Facebook and also signed up for her newsletter! Love everything Tudor related and look forward to reading her new book! :-)