Review and Giveaway: Roses Have Thorns (Ladies in Waiting #3) by Sandra Byrd

rosescoverFrom 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 fiancé 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 Sandra

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. HerauthorSandraByrd 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, will publish in April, 2013.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens.

A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra has also published many nonfiction articles and books. She is also passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

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My Review

Roses Have Thorns draws readers behind the beguiling veneer of Tudor prestige to reveal the labyrinthine intrigue and scandal lurking in the shadowy halls of the Elizabethan court. Accurately portraying how a courtiers life was defined by their proximity to the formidable Elizabeth and being wholly dedicated to her at the expense of their personal lives, Helena is no exception to the struggle between self and Crown. She gives witness to the combustible relationship between the Queen, Robert Dudley and the political pariahs vying for supremacy and adoration while seeking after the longings of her own heart, namely an enduring love .

Spanning decades, Roses Have Thorns keeps readers continually engaged, but I do wish the pacing was slower to cover less time but with more situational resolution. Sandra Byrd succeeds at recreating the grandiose setting wrought with tension and deception without letting it overpower character development or plot. With a series like Ladies in Waiting available, who needs licentious miniseries like “The Tudors”, with all of its historical inaccuracies and lewd dramatization. Instead, Roses Have Thorns offers a fictional heroine breathing new life in to history  with poignancy and reverence.

Rating: 8.5/10

**Review copy provided by publisher**

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  1. Ruth says

    I really enjoyed this book (my first read by Byrd), but I wish it had been about 500 pages at least…I wanted more detail and a slower pace as well! :)

  2. says

    Agree with you, Lydia – the pacing should have been better. It seemed a slight to so much of the plots and even character’s. That being said, I adored Helena’s character. She was kind and loyal. Her courtship with Thomas was pure and precious, and I was happy to – at long last, see her so in love with Thomas.

    I think for me, part of the reason I struggled with this was being familiar with the movie versions of Elizabeth’s stories. Glad you liked the book!

  3. says

    Thank you so much, Lydia, for your fantastic review. Grateful to be able to tell the story and for bloggers like you reaching out!

I love to hear your thoughts!