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 of her friend and lady in waiting Juliana St. John.
As with any Queen of Henry the VIII, there were those amongst her court that were for her and those that were definitely against her- “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is very apropos here. Those in power are seeking out more power and the sharks are circling particularly as the King’s health is waning. There is much jockeying for position in the court and in influencing of the Henry’s children. Kateryn Parr tries to influence her step-children as best she can particularly in reformist type ways, which brings out enemies against her. With her friendship with Juliana St. John, she gains a powerful ally as Juliana has the gift of prophecy through dreams which proves to be very beneficial to Kateryn. The Tudor history and reformist storyline is well written and woven into a convincing chain of events, but also as compelling is Juliana’s storyline which showed the demands of the court as well as secrets, intrigue, and heartbreak. Juliana endures some difficult situations at court which I don’t want to give away here, but at one point my heart broke along with Juliana’s and I was cheering for her to not give up and press on.
Juliana’s loyal friendship to Kateryn plays out to the very last page and when you finish this story you can’ help but think of her love, her sacrifice and loyalty to her friend and Queen and admire her for it. This is Historical fiction at its finest as I love how you are transported back to Tudor England, picturing the knights and ladies in waiting, the gowns, etc, but the dilemmas of the character’s are not that different than what we face today- heartache, betrayal, greed, as well as joys and triumphs. It was a wonderful book, which I am sure many will enjoy.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.