Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: "The Secret Keeper" by Sandra Byrd

From Goodreads:  Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight in Marlborough. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father’s business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn Parr.

Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his business with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in the Parr household for “finishing” and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly. For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king’s daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.

As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII’s court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will upset everything she thought she once held dear.

My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I liked this book, I really did.  Unfortunately, I didn't love it.  The story had a so much potential but it kind of fell flat.  It sucked me in but kind of let me down towards the end.  The story was moving at a decent (sometimes slow) pace and then the end felt like a ton of stuff was shoved into very few pages.  There were a lot of descriptions of dresses and jewels and I actually did enjoy imagining all the luxurious items worn by Katherine Parr and those around her. 

I liked the character of Juliana but I couldn't relate to her.  There were times where I felt very sympathetic towards her but as the book progressed, I just felt kind of meh.  In the beginning she seemed like a pretty strong character and she did take charge at the end but through the middle of the story, I just wasn't that interested in what she was doing.  I also thought that while the idea of her prophesy like dreams sounded compelling, it just didn't turn out to be as exciting as I thought.  It seemed at first that they might show her things she was to help prevent but instead the dreams were just about things that were going to happen and those events weren't that exciting.  The one character I did really like was Jamie Hart and yet he only appears in the story sporadically. 

There was a secret revealed toward the end of the story that seemed very strange and unexpected and I know why the author included it but at the same time it felt unneccessary considering the personality of Juliana.  I think she would have done what Katherine Parr asked her to do without including this big secret and that whole scene left me thinking 'Huh?'  Overall, this was a decent read that could have been really good.  3 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for giving my book a read, Denise. I'm glad you liked it if you didn't love it. I hope you'll give the next book in the trilogy a try and see if it works better for you!


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