Review: Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd

Description (from cover):

‘From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court. Like Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, 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 to Helena, 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 her 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.’

My thoughts:

Sometimes I think that if I read another Tudor book, I will scream. So yet for some reason, here I am again reading yet another Tudor-related book. I will say that I liked that Elin was the main character and the main voice of this novel and focused on Elizabeth and her royal court. While this book wasn’t anything new as history is history, it was an enjoyable read. I can say that I did enjoy Elin’s character and learning about someone I’ve never even heard of. It did take away from the sameness that is Elizabeth’s life. Of course with a person so famous as Elizabeth I, the many stories tend to become the same and it feels like you’re reading the same thing over and over. The author did a great job of focusing on popular historical events, but it was as if the reader was getting a fresh perspective through another character’s eyes.
Elin von Snakenborg travels to England at the age of seventeen in the retinue of the Princess of Sweden. She becomes enamored of England and of Elizabeth’s court and ends up staying in the country after the Swedish deputation leaves. She becomes a close and dear confidant to a queen know for being wary of the courtiers that surround her. Elin shows the queen constantly through good friendship and loyalty that she can be depended on and the queen soon favors Elin. When Elin marries into wealth and title, she and Elizabeth become inseparable. 
This book was an interesting read. It kept my interest and didn’t bore me as much as the other Tudor related books tend to. I’m just over the Tudors as it feels like a lot of historical fiction features this family. I know every single time I read a Tudor book, I rant and rave on here and I should just avoid these books like the plague, but for some reason, I always am drawn like a moth to a flame and can’t help myself. I would be interested to read more by this author, if she has other books not based on the Tudors. This author is a fabulous writer and it was much more the issue of the subject matter and not the writing that made me rate this book as I did.

Overall Rating: 3

Title:  Roses Have Thorns
Author:  Sandra Byrd
Series:  Ladies in Waiting #3
Publisher:  Howard Books
Publication Date:  April 9, 2013
Pages:  336
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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