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Customer Reviews for Center Point Large Print The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print

Center Point Large Print The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print

A young noblewoman feels torn between love and honor in 16th-century England! Juliana's mother arranges for her to join the household of Kateryn Parr---the last wife of the notorious Henry VIII. But after a frightening vision, Juliana is reluctant to go. Is she in terrible danger?
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Customer Reviews for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Review 1 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 8, 2013
I love these books! The Secret Keeper, Sandra Byrd’s second book in the Ladies in Waiting Series, follows the life of Kateryn Parr, King Henry VIII’s last wife. After reading her novel about Ann Boyeln, I knew this would be a quite the read as well. Because royalty in those days were what the French call drah-ma.
Told from the perspective of one of Parr’s ladies in waiting, Juliana, this was not only interesting to dive more into that era, but through her eyes, the reality of society for women was brought to life. It really is sad, but also encouraging to see how some women did stand up in different ways. At least we’ve come a long ways in society.
There were definitely a couple of twists I didn’t expect and kept me on my book reading toes :) . Once again Byrd opens up a fascinating world with fantastic writing! There’s beautiful details, stirring stories and of course the crazy British drama. I can’t wait for her new one, Roses Have Thorns, A Novel of Elizabeth I, to come out this Spring!!
I definitely recommend this series, so be sure to pick up a copy!
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Review 2 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Novel to Savor

Date:December 11, 2012
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Christy Janes
Age:25-34
Gender:female
While many of the historical novels and movies of late featuring the wives of King Henry VIII are nothing more than sensationalism, Sandra Byrd shows that historical fiction can be accurate and still entirely sensational in her latest book The Secret Keeper. Sweeping through 8-plus years of court intrigue, royalty, and grandeur, Sandra tells the story of Kateryn Parr through the eyes of a humble lady-in-waiting, Juliana St. John. Juliana's journey begins innocently enough, but hairpin turns are only a moment away, and what was once an exciting adventure to be included in the company of the Queen quickly becomes Juliana's duty to protect her from those who intend to discredit her. She also does not count on shameful circumstances affecting her directly, and thus, charts a firm course for the remainder of her life...to which, God has another plan.
Sandra's study of the Tudor period and Kateryn's life was intense, providing the reader not only with several family trees in the beginning, but an extensive author's note in the back detailing her meticulous research. From the royal garments and stunning jewels to the actual letters and books used in conversation during that time, The Secret Keeper had a natural authentic quality that set it apart from other historical novels regardless of their time period. As a reader, I paused several times to savor the rich language and dialogue that made up each scene. This was not a novel that I wanted to race to complete, but one that grew sweeter with each and every page.
I have been so impressed with all of Sandra's books over the years, but historical fiction is where her talents shine the brightest. Although I am anxiously awaiting her next Tudor novel about Elizabeth I, it comes with a hint of sadness that it will bring this series to a close. And for a reader whose tendency is to never re-read a book, I have no doubt I will be making *several* exceptions for Sandra's entire Ladies in Waiting series.
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Review 3 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Tudor Fiction: The Secret Keeper; A Novel of

Date:July 11, 2012
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Renee C
Location:PA
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Wow! Does Sandra Byrd know how to write a book or what? I'll be the first to admit that I don't often seek out books set in 16th century England but since having read To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn last year I make a point to read all Ms. Byrd's stories. I don't know a lot about the Tudors or English royalty but reading books like The Secret Keeper makes it feel like I'm living it up at court or that I'm right in the midst of a royal intrigue.
Juliana St. John, a companion and maid of honor to Kateryn Parr, quickly becomes attached to the last wife of Henry VIII especially since Kateryn shows more affection for her than Juliana's own mother. Life within the palace's inner circles isn't without its disadvantages, especially to an innocent young woman like Juliana. The secrets that she must hold close abound and if they ever come out everyone could be in danger including the new queen herself.
Writing seemingly authentic to the time characters and the ability to make the struggles of a person who lived hundreds of years ago relevant to the modern woman takes true talent and Sandra Byrd definitely has it! Every moment of Juliana's story was gripping, entertaining, and chock full of emotion. Getting to know Juliana as a naive young woman and follow her as she matured while in service to queen, king and country was truly a joy. Don't get me wrong there are definitely moments that will make you want to weep, especially concerning the treatment of women and assaults, but the ending was terrific without being an over the top happily-ever-after. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Tudor court set fiction regardless of whether or not they like Christian fiction.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*
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Review 4 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Another Favorite is in the House

Date:July 15, 2012
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Faye
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
A sweeping historical novel of the little known Kateryn Parr.
We've all heard about Henry VIII and his six wives, and we know about his first and second wives Katherine (or Catherine) of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, but what do we know of Henry VIII's sixth and final wife, Kateryn Parr? If you read this book you'll find out.
The Secret Keeper is another book to add to my exclusive favorites pile, rich with real-life characters and full of intrigue The Secret Keeper is everything and more than I expected.
I loved being able to sit back and seep into another time and place, a world of power, secrets, and rarest of all true love.
I absolutely loved Ms. Byrd's attention to detail and how she brought a character so often tucked away into the back round to the forefront, through the eyes of Juliana St. John. I knew that there was alot going on in the court of Henry VIII during the time he was married to Anne Boleyn, but I never guessed how dangerous it was even in the time of Kateryn Parr!
I was absorbed into the era through the eyes and ears of Juliana, a young woman who had secrets of her own. I came to be so invested in the tale that I read it all in two sittings, only because my mother insisted I go to sleep!
I loved getting to know Kateryn better, and learning more about the time between Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth. The Secret Keeper is a lush historical read, that gripped me in a strangle-hold from beginning to end, and that I HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking for a fully engrossing read.
Many thanks to Sandra Byrd and Howard Publishers for providing me with this copy of The Secret Keeper in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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Review 5 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Secret Keeper

Date:July 11, 2012
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CKendall
Location:Burlington, NC
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I have been a fan of Sandra Byrd since her French Twist series. When I first heard about her Tudor novel, To Die For, I was uncertain that I would like it. I thought it might have been boring and dry, but my goodness, was I wrong. I loved that book, actually that’s an understatement, but close enough. When The Secret Keeper was released, I thought no way could Sandra do it again, this one won’t be as good. About two pages into the book (right about the time I got hooked), I had to ask myself why I keep doubting this absolutely amazing author. Sandra is incredible and she has done it again, perhaps even better? It’s hard to say because it has been a while since I read To Die For, but it doesn’t matter which is better because they are both excellent and impossible to put down.
One of the things I tend to struggle with is when authors overdo it on trying to get the language and accents authentic to the time and place of the story. I have always found that it slows the story down and that is a huge negative for me. Somehow Sandra is able to be completely authentic without the book lagging. I never once felt like I wasn’t right there in the court of Henry VIII. Sandra’s talent is truly unmatched in historical fiction.
So, the stage was expertly set with authentic historical detail and we have an amazing story as well. So many times I have read historical novels in which the author focuses too much on either the setting or on the story. That can create a disconnect with me because either the story is lacking or it is hard to tell just where and when the story takes place. The balance between historical detail and story is absolutely flawless in The Secret Keeper.
I highly recommend The Secret Keeper, and To Die For. I also recommend reading the author’s note at the end. I always enjoy reading those anyway, but it was especially interesting in this book. The Secret Keeper is my favorite book so far this year! I can’t wait to see what’s next and I promise that I will have only high expectations. Sandra has earned it.
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Review 6 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

It was good

Date:July 9, 2012
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Center Grove Baptist Church
Location:Rock Spring, GA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I was in the mood for castles, kings and queens and it fit the bill. Some violence but not gory. I will be looking for other books by this author.
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Review 7 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Learn About A Pivotal Time in Christian History

Date:July 2, 2012
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BethR
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
"The king had told Kate, upon her marriage, to choose whichever women she liked to pass the time with her in amusing manners or otherwise accompany her for her leisure. The queen certainly did so; we played cards and dice and she love to hunt with her greyhounds. But His Majesty did not realize, I was sure, the extent to which Kate was about more serious business. Her chambers were oft filled with women who held spirited debates upon philosophy and religion."
-thoughts from Juliana St. John in The Secret Keeper-A Novel of Kateryn Parr
Before I began reading The Ladies in Waiting series by author Sandra Byrd, I didn't know much about the Tudors or the Protestant Reformation. But now, after reading The Secret Keeper-A Novel of Kateryn Parr, I am feeling much more informed and educated.
The Secret Keeper-A Novel of Kateryn Parr, rehearses the life of Kateryn (Katherine) Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, during her reign as queen. Told from the point of view of Juliana St. John, a fictitious character within the realm, we peer into the life of one of England's very influential queens during the time of the Protestant Reformation.
Byrd has done extensive research in the life of this queen and those who were friends and enemies during her time in the royal court. After reading this novel, I was prompted to do some further research for myself, as I was after reading the first novel in the series, To Die For-A Novel of AnneBoleyn.
As I read the novel and then researched I found out what an integral part the women of the royal family played during the Protestant Reformation. There were also some divisions within, which created a lot of bloodshed, literally, but it was a real time of growth for the Church. I imagine this fact and her interest in the Tudor family are what prompted Sandra Byrd to write this book. I know that there are many other novels out there on the royal family during this time period, but none quite possibly as inspired as this.
Spiritual elements the reader will find within the novel are the gift of the Spirit revealed as by prophecy. Prophecy, the Word of Knowledge, and the Word of Wisdom are all speaking gifts within the church, given by the Holy Spirit to further God's purposes and plans, as listed in 1 Corinthians 12. Byrd does a lovely job revealing this in the character of Juliana St. John through dreams given to her, and as the reader will find, to help carry out the plan of God during this time.
FYI- There are a couple of passages in the novel including a rape scene, and a few passages in reference to risqué teasing of a physical nature with Elizabeth I when she was 14. They are written in a discreet manner, but you are not left to wonder what happened, and did cause me a pause in my reading for just a bit.
I enjoyed reading this novel for many reasons. I like historical fiction. But The Secret Keeper is a combination of Chick lit (yes girls, there is a lovely romance within the pages), Historical fiction, and Christian fiction, which made it all the more appealing to me.
I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. You will learn about a pivotal time period in Christian history while learning about an amazing queen, who was also a student of the scriptures and a writer herself. Maybe you will be prompted to do a little further research of your own. Many blessings to you as you travel back in time with The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to give a positive review. The thoughts and opinions here are entirely my own.
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Review 8 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Intriguing Read

Date:June 23, 2012
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Lizzie
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
First there was To Die For: A novel of Anne Boleyn. Now Sandra Byrd returns to regale us with The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.
As King Henry VIII’s last wife, Kateryn Parr enters a world of opposition and intrigue when she steps into his court. The story is told through the eyes of Juliana St. John-a young maiden who has come along to attend Kateryn.
The court may be full of trickery and deceit, but it is Juliana who may hold the biggest secret.
Not only does Juliana have the gift of prophecy, but in one of her visions she has also seen a prominent family friend shredding the dress of a very high-born woman.
Now Juliana is left to wonder: was she brought to the court for such a time as this? Will she have the courage to intervene when the time comes? And will she ever find true love of her own?
Once again, I couldn’t put this book down. I was transported to the very courts of King Henry himself. There was also a huge twist in the middle that completely surprised me.
Before reading The Secret Keeper I knew little of Kateryn Parr, so it was both fun and enlightening to get to know her through Byrd’s adaptation. She was a fascinating woman, and played a large role in the upbringing of Queen Elizabeth I.
Likewise, Juliana also played a strong female character. I especially loved how Byrd gave her the gift of prophecy. That’s something I’d never seen before in fiction, and I felt she made it both relevant and interesting.
The one and only reason I shaved off a star for The Secret Keeper was because I felt as if it was a little too similar to the first book, To Die For. Each book is set in King Henry VIII’s court, each has a queen with strong protestant leanings, and each has a lady’s maid who cannot have the love of her life because of social reasons. Because of the similarity between plots, it came down to a “Favorites” game: which was my personal favorite? For me, it was To Die For. So I feel as though I may be a little biased.
However, I’m confident those who haven’t read To Die For will find nothing to criticize in The Secret Keeper, and there are several variants to keep it interesting and worth reading for those who have.
There is one scene that depicts a rape, so please be advised.
But overall, I thought The Secret Keeper was fabulous. It’s one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, and I eagerly look forward to Byrd’s future installment: Roses Have Thorns: A novel of Elizabeth I.
Based on these first two books, I have a feeling this will be a strong series that readers won’t soon forget!
(Thanks to the author and Howard Books for giving me this book to review.)
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Review 9 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Hope is the divine theme of this series!

Date:June 13, 2012
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Dolly
Location:New Mexico
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Secret Keeper is the second book in Sandra’s amazing Tudor Series. A trip to Henry VIII’s court is luxurious but treacherous. This story is no exception. His subjects, even Queen Kateryn Parr, are defenseless against Henry’s fickle affections as long as he reigns. However, life after Henry proves even more dangerous as a power struggle of epic proportions ensues. By choosing Juliana’s unique point of view, Sandra paints a vibrant depiction of Kateryn’s royal journey, both physically & spiritually. I was inspired by Kateryn’s unwavering support of the reformer cause & reminded of King David’s Abigail in her wisdom, grace & courage. Sandra’s description of Kateryn’s tender love towards needy souls is poignant & stirring. The royal children grow toward their destined roles, strengthened by her maternal tutelage. Mended by that same nurturing, Juliana finds the courage to choose honor & sacrifice over her own desires. Hope is the divine theme beautifully woven through this series. Indeed, hope is the force behind Juliana’s quest for a love that defies both boundaries & brokenness.
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Review 10 for The Secret Keeper: Kateryn Parr, Large Print
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Secret Keeper is a Keeper

Date:June 5, 2012
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girlsmama
Location:Edgewood, WA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
5 stars.
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