Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Byrd (CLOSED)

Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Byrd
Howard Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster
April 2013
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

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.

A rich, tautly woven tale of love, deception, and grace,
Roses Have Thorns vividly conjures the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots and is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.

My thoughts: This is the second book I've read by Sandra Byrd and the third in her Ladies in Waiting series (I read the second, The Secret Keeper) and I have to say, I really enjoy this series. I love the take Sandra Byrd takes on writing about the Tudor era - she uses a lady-in-waiting to the women of the court as her main character while giving us a different perspective into the Tudor women.

Elin von Snakenborg comes to England with Sweden's Princess Cecelia after suffering betrayal from her fiance and sister. She finds herself becoming one of Queen Elizabeth's ladies in waiting and eventually one of the queen's highest ranking ladies. Now Helena, she became close to the Queen using her knowledge of herbs and scents to gain trust and favor. But, the rise in status comes at a price - she spends most of her time serving the queen, day and night, which has a huge impact on her personal life.  

I love how we get to know Queen Elizabeth through Elin/Helena's eyes. We get all the drama and intrigue that happens at the court, but through a courtier's perspective. I've read a lot of books about Queen Elizabeth, and always walk away learning more about this fascinating queen - and to think as beloved as she was, she was the daughter of one of the most disliked women of the Tudor court - that of Anne Boleyn. In this one book, we see Elizabeth struggle with her decision to stay married to her kingdom, thus giving up her personal freedom to marry a man. The religious turmoil is still going strong and Mary, Queen of Scots has come to England after being imprisoned in Scotland. The book certainly covers a large part of Elizabeth's reign, but seeing it through someone else's eye adds another dimension. 

It just so happens that the book I read prior to this one, Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle (my review can be found here), also touched on the drama between the queen of England and the queen of Scotland. I liked reading another account, short that it was in this case, of the same turbulent time. Now I am eager to find a book from Mary's point of view. But first, I need to read the first book in this series, To Die For, which is about Anne Boleyn.

Books in this series:
  1. To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
  2. The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr
  3. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I

About the author: Sandra Byrd has published more than three dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including the first book in her Tudor series, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. Her second book, The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, illuminates the mysteries in the life of Henry’s last wife.
For more than a decade Sandra has shared her secrets with the many new writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband and two children.
For more Tudor tidbits, please visit www.sandrabyrd.com. Follow Sandra Byrd on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtag: #RosesHaveThornsVirtualTour).

Giveaway Information (CLOSED):

Thanks to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours I have one copy of Roses Have Thorns and an Elizabeth I necklace to give away to my readers. 

  • Open to US
  • Must include email address to enter 
* Mandatory entry - Tell me why you want to read this book. 
* Extra entry #1 - become a follower of Always With a Book - via email, twitter or bloglovin'. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under and how).  

* Extra entry #2 - please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting, pinning onto Pinterest or posting this giveaway on Facebook (each way you share gets you 1 more entry).   
All entries can be in one email - but you MUST include email address or no entry


Good Luck!!!


  1. follow cc_clubbs@yahoo.com
    blog lovin--cynthia borgmeyer clubbs
    gfc--cynthia clubbs

  2. I also posted your button on my blog: http://ccclubbs.wordpress.com/

  3. Thank you so much, Kristin! I really appreciate your thoughtful review, and posting the giveaway on your blog!

    1. This series looks awesome!! I've always enjoyed history and historical figures but most biographies are too dry. This looks exciting!

  4. Thanks for this lovely giveaway. The excellent review captivated my interest in this historical. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. I am an e-mail subscriber. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. I love Sandra Byrd's books and I think it great to learn about a monarch through the eyes of another. It is sort of like the 9 men with an elephant all seeing something different. Elizabeth I is a fascinating subjet.


  7. I follow your blog with an e-mail subscription.


  8. I tweeted: http://t.co/IMPTd3r06J


  9. What a great giveaway. This novel is fascinating and unique. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  10. Thank you for hosting this terrific giveaway, Kristin. It sounds like an excellent book. :)


  11. I've enjoyed the stories of Elizabeth I and her court for many years, this looks like another interesting story. Thanks for the giveaway. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

    I follow your blog by email.

    I tweeted about the giveaway: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/334561726483808256

    I also pinned an image on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/pin/336573772122169304/

    Thanks again!

  12. This is my favorite period in history! I haven't read anything by her, but I'm going to pick up the first in the trilogy!
    I follow with bloglovin: Michele Lawrence

    shermie40 at yahoo dot com

  13. Because I LOVE Tudor history! It's so intriguing and Henry VIII was FASCINATING!
    Also, I follow via email: mestith at gmail dot com

  14. This Book sounds fascinating. I follow you on Twitter MarilynWatson18. Please enter me.
    Marilyn (ewatvess@yahoo.com)
    sharing on FB..

  15. Would love to read this one! The Tudors are so interesting. I follow via email

    lafra86 at gmail dot com

  16. I enjoyed this one too, I never tire of the Tudors :)

  17. Thanks for the giveaway.
    I want to read it, because I am getting obsessed by HF!
    I follow you many ways, and now also thru Bloglovin [Emma] Words And Peace]
    and here is my tweet:
    ehc16e at yahoo dot com

  18. I would love to read this book because I am already invested as I've read the first two installments in the series and enjoyed Byrd's take on my favorite moment in time... Tudor England.

    My email is mosthappyreader at gmail dot com

    I follow you through bloglovin and Google and here is my tweet: https://twitter.com/backtoblk/status/338630499192946689

  19. I'd luv to read this book! I have book 2 so this would be great to have Sandra's next in the series - ty for hosting and offering!
    faithhoopecherrytea [at gmail dot]com

    gfc following and posted to sidebar at blog - thx for the xtra opps!

    i would twitter follow as @_eHope but i keep getting the no more allowed ); til more follow me..sorry


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love interacting with other book lovers and appreciate any thoughts or feedback! If you read a book after seeing my review, please let me know. Come back and leave me a link to your review so I can read it. Thank you!!!

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