Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review on Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd and a giveaway!

One can’t help but have favorites in life. Favorite coffee places, favorite eateries, favorite desserts and of course favorite people. I have to say that Roses Have Thorns a novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Byrd will go down as a favorite read of mine for this year. As you read on in this lovely historical fiction account of Queen Elizabeth’s life , you will find that she had favorite’s as well, which is how we meet young Elin von Snakenborg, a lovely young girl from Sweden who journeys to England with her Swedish Princess Cecelia to tend to her on the voyage. Through a series of events, such as a sister who is systematically stealing her fiancé back home in Sweden to the meeting of a very high ranking and very interested Lord Northampton, Elin does not return to Sweden, but remains in England. As a result, she is welcomed onto Elizabeth’s court and becomes, as previously mentioned a favorite of Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s story is told through the lens of Elin’s perspective.

As Elin transitions from her Swedish roots to her new English life, she adopts the name of Helena with the mindset of embracing her new English life. It is rather lonely at first as she is treated by many around her as an outsider. But Helena in her efforts to please Queen Elizabeth uses her Swedish know-how to offer her comfort and help through Herbal fragrances and massage to help with the stress that a Queen carries. After some delay she is finally married to Lord Northampton which immediately elevates her to the Marchioness of Northampton which deems her the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. It’s a rather interesting circle to be a part of I’m afraid as it becomes confusing to find out who can be trusted as loyal to the crown and who cannot. There are Catholic enemies plotting everywhere and the intrigue of the court and the sundry goings on keeps one turning the pages!

As with every one of these Tudor books that Sandra Byrd has written, you can’t help but fall in love with the heroine and her plight there are challenges, a romance (or two) and all sorts of things that keep a Marchioness on her toes. Poor Helena endures much and is sometimes confused about whom she can trust amongst the court and who she cannot and even falls in and out of favor with Elizabeth a time or two, but that adds to the interest of the story. One aspect that I though was especially well done was showing just how attached Elizabeth became to her ladies of the court. They really were her family and so she loathed to part with any of them as it was like parting with her own family. As she was a virgin queen and decided to forego marriage in lieu of her commitment to ruling as the Sovereign of England it gave way to much loneliness on Elizabeth’s part. I thought that was well written and added much understanding to why Elizabeth did what she did. This story also covers the time frame of leading up to the beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots and the very difficult decision that was for Elizabeth.

And so to sum up, yes, I very much enjoyed this read, it was very well done and I think the crowing achievement for these three Tudor books that Sandra Byrd has written. This book was well researched and when good research meets a wonderful storyteller you get a truly wonderful historical fiction account of Queen Elizabeth as well as Helena von Snakenborg. Again as stated above this one goes down in the books as a favorite!

5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  And... an exciting Giveaway- I am so excited to offer you all a copy of this wonderful book  Roses Have Thorns , as well as a beautiful necklace of Queen Elizabeth I  being provided by the author herself, Sandra Byrd.  Here is how it works. Please just answer me this simple question if you could slip back in time and have a "tea time" with anyone from Henry the VIII's family tree- who would you pick? King Henry himself,  one of his many wives, (Ann Boleyn, Kateryn Parr, etc)  or his lovely daughter Elizabeth?  Your choice- can't wait to see who you pick! Please leave me your email so that I can contact the winner!    Also if you are new to my blog and become a follower you get an extra entry.  I will choose through random.org.  This giveaway will go for 2 weeks and I will choose on  April 23rd.


  1. Woohoo! First comment ;)

    I think I'd have tea with Anne of Cleves...no one says much about her other than she was unattractive. It may be fun, you never know!

    I'm a follower but not a new one.

    Thanks for the great review (as usual), and the chance to win!


  2. Go Beth, you are the lucky winner of the book and necklace! I know you will love the book!