Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I

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Автор Sandra Byrd

Praise for Sandra Byrd

Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I

“In Roses Have Thorns, Sandra Byrd has given the reader another amazing heroine to tell the intimate story of England’s greatest queen, Elizabeth I. What a unique point of view and deeply moving story Helena von Snakenborg provides. Byrd is especially adept at blending political and private lives. This is a timeless women’s friendship novel as well as a poignant love story to cherish—both the roses and the thorns.”

—Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Mistress of Mourning

“There is something golden about this tale of Elin, an eager young woman in a strange land, diligent in her duty but alive to love. A tale gracefully told, even as it renders the terrors of treachery that form the crucible of Elin’s hard-won wisdom. A heartfelt story of loyalty, longing, lifelong friendship, and the many seasons of the heart.”

—Barbara Kyle, author of The Queen’s Gamble and Blood Between Queens

“Beautiful prose and masterful research combine to bring this fascinating tale to life, treating the reader to fully realized characters and providing an original window in which we can view Elizabeth’s court. Ms. Byrd’s work will stand as an unforgettable contribution to Tudor fiction.”

—D.L. Bogdan, author of The Forgotten Queen

The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr

“Rich in historical detail, full of intrigue, and starring a memorable heroine who grows in both character and faith, Sandra Byrd’s The Secret Keeper kept me completely engrossed in the tumultuous court of Henry VIII. I felt a part of the times, thanks to the author’s skillful storytelling, vivid descriptions, and inspiring characters. Readers are in for a special treat with this remarkable novel.”

—Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author

“I love this story. Exquisite attention to detail of time, language, and place. A deft creation of voice that invites the reader in and never lets her go. A delicate suspense that keeps pages turning. And throughout, the evidence of a remarkable storyteller who moves emotions in ways that both inspire and satisfy. I fell in love with Juliana St. John and with her heart, and hope she and her secrets find the widest possible audience.”

—Jane Kirkpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of Where Lilacs Still Bloom

“A young woman with the gift of prophecy becomes entangled in Henry VIII’s court in this engaging novel. . . . Byrd (To Die For) crafts a well-researched historical novel that engrosses readers in Juliana’s world and the juicy details of the Tudor court. . . . Anglophiles and history buffs alike will surely enjoy this bird’s-eye view into royal politics, love, and scandal.”

Publishers Weekly

“Juliana’s character as the main protagonist is both surprisingly fresh and perfectly presented. There is much more to her than a lady’s maid, and finding out her secrets as the story unfolds is a great pleasure. Unlike many novels of this kind—which portray a fictional character in the lead—this one works very well. A female’s place in society is expanded upon, but not so much as to become monotonous and spoil the historical theme.”

—Historical Novel Society

“I’d be willing to wager that, come December, The Secret Keeper will find a firm ranking on many bloggers’ Best Books of 2012 lists—including mine. The Secret Keeper is simply superb. It grabbed me from the start and never let go. . . . Even readers who shy away from the well-researched historical will get wrapped up in the Tudor trickery and lovely romance within this story. Byrd’s tightly woven plot is laced with ever-splicing threads of intrigue that worm their way into your imagination and all but tie the book to your hands. Read it!”

USA Today

To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

“This stunning novel . . . re-examines Boleyn’s life from her beginnings to her rise and eventual fall in the Tudor court. . . . Byrd’s novel adds a depth to the character of Anne Boleyn that is often missing in other novels, and she brings the history to life in exquisite detail. Highly recommended for fans of Philippa Gregory.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“In To Die For, Sandra Byrd gifts the reader with a fresh look at Anne Boleyn through the eyes of her lifelong friend Meg Wyatt. . . . Readers will be drawn to the events, beautifully depicted, but also to the emotions, skillfully conveyed. A new Tudor historical to treasure.”

—Karen Harper, author of The Queen’s Governess

“Sandra Byrd’s first venture into historical fiction is nothing short of brilliant, giving readers a wider glimpse of history, a greater measure of hope, and an ending that satisfies at the deepest level. Simply put, To Die For is the best historical novel I’ve read in many a season.”

—Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times bestselling author of Mine Is the Night

“Ms. Byrd seamlessly weaves sacred threads of history with those of captivating imagination to take us on an unforgettable journey of the heart.”

—Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of Within My Heart and The Inheritance

“In this moving story of a friendship that survives a queen’s rise and fall, Sandra Byrd reaches beyond the familiar stereotypes to give us the story of two remarkable women: A refreshingly three-dimensional Anne (Boleyn) and a Meg (Wyatt) of courage and integrity make this novel a must for your Tudor library.”

—Susan Higginbotham, author of The Queen of Last Hopes

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Henry VIII and Dudley Family Trees


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four


Parr and Gorges Family Trees



Reading Group Guide

About Sandra Byrd

Principal Works of Reference

Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,

Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,

And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.

—“Sonnet 35,” William Shakespeare


There once was a strong, benevolent lady who was walking through a frozen rose garden in the grievous chill of winter when her slipper brushed against something on the cobbled path. She saw that it was a snake, stiff with cold and nigh on dead, having run the fool’s errand of leaving its own nest to seize a better one.

Forswearing her initial hesitation, the lady placed the serpent close to her bosom, where it quickly warmed. When it revived, the serpent resumed its natural nature, bit its benefactress, and poisoned her with a wound unto death.

“Why have you done this?” she cried. “I have sought only to assist you!”

“You knew full well what I was when you drew me close to your heart,” replied the cunning viper.

“I am justly rewarded, then,” the lady sorrowed, “for pitying a serpent.”

—A retelling of Aesop’s fable


November: Year of Our Lord 1564

Tre Kronor, Stockholm, Sweden

Winter, Spring, and Summer: Year of Our Lord 1565

At Sea and Over Land

I may have been a maiden just shy of seventeen years of age, but I was no simpleton. I recognized beard burn on the fair face of my sister when she emerged, breathless, from a small closet off one of the king’s galleries.

“Have you been with someone?” I asked. By someone, she knew I meant a man.

She would not meet my gaze. But she answered, ...