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Reviewed by Jessa Larsen

Mistress Juliana St. John is the lovely daughter of a prosperous knight. She is expected to marry the son of her late father’s business partner, but fate interferes, sending her to live at the court of King Henry VIII. Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane, is the man responsible for Juliana’s change in fate. He happens upon her reading scripture at the local church and sees instantly that she would fit in well among the women serving his one true love, Kateryn Parr.

Juliana begins her new life comfortably enough, but she keeps a dangerous secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy and in this day and age, such a gift doubles as a death warrant should anybody find out.

As Juliana accompanies Kateryn Parr to court after Kateryn is widowed and promptly remarried to King Henry VIII, Henry’s sixth queen raises the stakes to dangerous levels. Support of an outspoken woman puts the queen and her ladies in life-threatening jeopardy, as does the queen’s desire to change her husband’s mind when it comes to the current direction and beliefs. Later, upon the king’s passing, the court falls into complete disarray and with that comes absolute scheming and chaos. The risks couldn’t be higher as Juliana wrestles with the decision of choosing between love, honor, personal fulfillment, and sacrifice.

The Secret Keeper is a beautiful story that weaves together elements of accurate history and fiction perfectly. I have always loved historical fiction and tend to be particularly fascinated with British royalty and nobility. Sandra Byrd definitely knows her history and has taken accurate, albeit unfinished, bits of facts from the Tudor era and brought the characters to life. The characters are believable as well as lovable. You definitely feel for the women in particular and how it must have been for them to live in a world ruled by men. I am definitely going to look up Byrd’s other novels and read them as soon as possible.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Also by Sandra Byrd: To Die For

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 cats, and 2 dogs. She goes to school full time as an English major with a focus in creative writing. She likes anime, reads books and plays video games in her moments of spare time.

Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Howard Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.a Rafflecopter giveaway