Book: Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd
Genre: Historical Fiction, Tudor-era
Source + Date Read: Review request and review copy sent by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours + April 2013.
Recommend: Great Tudor era story! It’s interesting to see the English court in the eyes of a foreigner.
Book Pro’s: Interesting protagonist. I don’t know if I like her, but she’s a strong one.
Book Con’s: Length, a bit too long, Byrd could have cut out some of the scenes, but maybe she couldn’t have. I’m not sure I have any cons for this actually.
About Roses Have Thorns
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 treacherous journey to England. Her fiance 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 of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between her unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust–a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.
Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.
About the Author
Sandra Byrd has published more than three dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including the first book in her Tudor series, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. Her second book, The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, illuminates the mysteries in the life of Henry’s last wife.
For more than a decade Sandra has shared her secrets with the many new writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband and two children.
I’m from The Bahamas so I’m not too familiar with Swedish names, but lets talk about how much I loved Elin von Snakenborg’s name. Snaaaack-in-borg. I’m a kid, I know.
I really enjoyed Roses Have Thorns, I thought it was a pretty realistic depiction of the Tudor era. There are a number of Tudor era books out and I think it’s hard to make something in this genre stand out. What gave Roses Have Thorns an edge was its depiction of feminine tensions between the Queen and her ladies in waiting. I thought it was almost cruel for her to demand true fealty and subservience. She denied her friends the opportunity to be around their families and children, and in some ways denied them a true life. Was it because she, herself, could not have one? Clearly she was bowed under her career, and in her anger she denied this thing from many, something she obviously wanted for herself. I like it when I read a book and I’m able to pick up on social or cultural tensions. It makes the book seem a bit deeper, yinno?