"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.
To learn more about the Tudors and the author of the Ladies in Waiting series, Sandra Byrd, please visit www.sandrabyrd.com.
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.