Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review + Giveaway // Roses Have Thorns By Sandra Byrd

Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I (Ladies in Waiting #3)// R o s e s    H a v e   T h o r n s //
A   N o v e l   o f   E l i z a b e t h    I
L a d i e s   I  n   W a i t i n g   B o o k   # 3
B y   S a n d r a   B y r d
{ R e v i e w    B y   B e t h a n y }
Title: Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I
Author: Sandra Byrd
Source: Review copy from the author
Number of Pages: 336
Publisher: Howard Publishing
Publication Date: April 9th, 2013
 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Bethany's Age Recommendation : 15+

// Book Synopsis //

"From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court.
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 fiance 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 an 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."
// Bethany's Book Review //
I have read both To Die For, and The Secret Keeper, the first two books in the Ladies In Waiting series. So when I heard that there was a third book on Queen Elizabeth I, I was very eager to read it and looked forward to it's publication for several months. While this book wasn't my favorite book in the series, I certainly enjoyed it and loved how it was very rich in history and historical facts, along with a good amount of fictitious additions to liven up the story.

The biggest pro for me, with this book is the amount of history! I love learning about great women of the past, especially those of high importance that placed a huge role in history; so I really enjoyed learning more about Queen Elizabeth I and her ladies maids. I like how this story was written from Helena's view (Queen Elizabeth's highest ranking ladies maid) and it not only gave a behind the scenes view at Queen Elizabeth's life, but also provided a interesting view in court that is from a lesser known position: the ladies maids and women who tended to Queen Elizabeth I. I think that reading this series has definitely helped me become more aware of the great Kings and Queens of our past, and sparked an interest in learning as much as I could about them! Anyone who enjoys history would be sure to enjoy and benefit from reading these books, as the amount of research Sandra did for this novel is obvious in the rich historical facts in the story.

There were two big cons for me though. The first was probably the difficulty I had with keeping all the characters in line and remembering how they are related. =) I've always had a difficult time with the whole family relations deal, and sometimes it can be confusing! However the four family trees that Sandra provided in the book were very helpful. But even then sometimes I would get a little lost and that was the biggest con for me as sometimes I'd just give up trying to remember how a lesser seen character is related and what they are to the Queen, etc. But overall I did still learn a lot through the history and was able to at least remember all the main characters.

The other con for me was the marital intimacy details and descriptions. I felt like it got a little too detailed during some scenes with Helena and her husband on several occasions, and it overstepped my comfort line. So for this reason would recommend the book for ages 15+. Other than this though I enjoyed the book, even it though it took me a while to read. At first I was planning on giving it 3 or 3.5 stars, but in the end I decided on 4 since I loved all the history.

For those that are new to Sandra's Tudor fiction series, who have an interest in reading Roses Have Thorns, there is good news. This series is not one that has to be read in order, and aside from a few tiny details, there is no overlapping of the books, and they would easily be read out of order without needing to worry if you hadn't read the previous books in the series. I'd like to thank Sandra for providing me with a review copy of Roses Have Thorns, and for sponsoring today's giveaway!

// The Giveaway //
Today Sandra has been so generous to allow us to giveaway a copy of Roses Have Thorns to one of you! To enter this giveaway, please use the RaffleCopter form below. Giveaway is open to the U.S. and will run until June 10th 2013. After this the winner will be contacted via email with a request to email us their mailing address so we can forward that to Sandra. The winner's name will also be announced on the RaffleCopter widget below after the giveaway ends and a winner is drawn at random using Random.org provided through RaffleCopter. As always, if you have any questions just leave a comment! Have a lovely day! =)
~The Literary Maidens

a Rafflecopter giveaway

N o t e :: Bethany was not paid to review Roses Have Thorns or giveaway a copy on this blog, and received a free copy of the book to read and review from the author.  All thoughts expressed in the review is my own and completely honest and unbiased.


  1. This is a subject matter I know very well. So I would definitely love this book.

  2. I haven't read any of Sandra's books as yet, but I do plan on reading them. I have always been fascinated by the Tudors.
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

  3. Tis book sounds amazing... Loved the review! :)
    Luis Lisa Shantz Medeiros
    deiselbuffs@gmail.com or deiselbuffs@yahoo.ca

  4. These look really good - I have always been so intruiged by that time-period and have read much on it. I haven't read any of Sandra's books yet, though. I'll have to add them to my reading list!

  5. I haven't read any of Sandra's books before, but I have looked at reading her London Confidential series. I think this Ladies in Waiting series looks very interesting though (I LOVE English history)!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. Thanks for hosting a giveaway! I haven't read any of the books in this series yet, but I'm looking forward to as my sister loves them!

  7. I loved the two books of Sandra that I have read which are the first two of the series that Roses Have Thorns is a part of. They were magnificent! Can't wait to get my hands on this one:)


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