Thursday, July 5, 2012
Juliana St. John is a young woman with the gift – or curse – of prophetic dreams. Her father (who is deceased) ran a successful import business and was a business associate of Thomas Seymour. In an attempt to help Juliana’s future, Seymour arranges for her to be placed in the household of Lady Latimer, Kateryn Parr. As events push Kateryn into a place in history, Juliana is a witness to the drama, intrigue and religious upheaval of the last years of Henry VIII’s reign and following his death.
Juliana is a somewhat naïve, sweet girl from the country who quickly learns that life at court can be dangerous and that few can be trusted. Using first person narrative, Byrd tells an engaging story with a likeable heroine and a creative and interesting solution to one of the mysteries from the time.
Juliana manages to form a close relationship with the queen and Kateryn comes to trust her, asking her to perform certain discrete errands for her. I think this is where I had a little trouble buying into the story line. Given the precarious position Kateryn occasionally believes herself to be in, would she really trust someone she’s only known for a short time? Someone who could be a really good spy? I was also a little put off by Juliana addressing the queen as “Kate” and with her outspokenness ,both of which seemed out of place and perhaps out of line for a lady in waiting who wasn’t a close relative or lifelong friend. It somewhat made a little more sense towards the end of the book though.
Despite these issues, I enjoyed The Secret Keeper and thought Byrd did a great job blending the historical facts of Kateryn’s life with the fictional Juliana.
In case the FTC asks: review copy from the publisher as part of the author’s blog tour