09 May 2013

Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd, Book review & GIVEAWAY

Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (April 9, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1439183168


From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court. 

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.

My thoughts:

History has taught us something of the English Court various intrigues, tumultuous political and religious plots yet I must credit Sandra Byrd's 'Roses Have Thorns' for bringing it just as vividly as a full screen movie seen through the eyes of young Elin of Sweden. 

Arriving in England in 1565 after months of hazardous traveling to reach the English soil, Elin Von Snakenborg discovers the stupendous world of the Tudors in all its glory. This is a time for New Age, a time of illumination, amazing discoveries and much treachery amongst nobles.
When the young Swede decides to remain at Court she soon becomes an intimate of the Queen herself. Elin is now known as Helena, Marchioness of Northampton, and we discover in her a most remarkable woman living in court yet struggling to retain some measure of privacy for herself and her family.

Sandra Byrd's story gives readers an idea of the entitlement of a lady in waiting position's, its multiple duties and much sought after power, yet also the sacrifices it ultimately required in such a tumultuous time. 

Anyone enjoying this time period will delight in all the glitter and myriad of details provided betwixt the pages including the footnotes and reading group guide. 

As for myself, as much as I love history, I found the overall plot somewhat prosaic despite its colourful ostentation.
I will summarize by saying I am relieved I did not live in such a troubled time!

4 Stars!

About the Author:

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens. 
Visit her website (HERE)

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Sandra Byrd's novel compliments of the author and HOWARD BOOKS, the promoter!
I like to make it easy as you know by now. Just place a comment on this post by Midnight on 17th May 2013. Like everyone I like comments after all!
Using Random.org a winner will be chosen and his/her name will be announced on this blog on Saturday the 18th of May 2013. I will then forward the winner's name to the promoter! Voila!

Best wishes to all,

I received these books from HOWARD BOOKS as part of their blogger review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 


  1. Thank you for your lovely review, Noelle. I appreciate you! :)

    1. Thank you for visiting Sandra and best wishes to you and yours!

  2. This looks very interesting. Would love to read this book.


    1. Be sure to enter Sandra's giveaway Kayla and God bless,

  3. What a lovely book and the author commented! How special is that! Sweet hugs!

    1. It's always nice when an author takes a moment to check reviews!


I love to share dreams and always enjoy meeting kindred spirits!
Thank you for stopping by!