Roses Have Thorns: a novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Byrd

15763945Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd
A Novel of Elizabeth I
Ladies in Waiting, #3
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Pages: 352 Trade Paperback
Date Published: August 9th 2013
Publisher: Howard Books

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.

An incredible historical tale. A keeper shelf book. Gorgeous covers that keep the pages turning. Each of these statements is something true in describing this historical Ladies in Waiting series from Sandra Byrd. To Die For  was captivating beginning to end in a story of Anne Boleyn’s Meg Wyatt. The Secret Keeper was a beautiful story that kept the pages turning of Kateryn Parr’s Juliana St. John. Roses Have Thorns is a different and yet enchanting tale that branches the expanse of the sea between Sweden and England to share Elizabeth I’s Elin von Snakenborg or Helena’s tale. This one was especially enchanting for me as I’m all the way up the line English bred and born (with a bunch of Scotland in me) and I married a man with a heritage of Sweden of which I am not all too familiar.

At first I was unsure of what I thought of Elin, later Helena. She seemed to be a bit of a pushover in just blindly watching her sister’s actions with her fiancé. But then I knew as she was leaving the shore that perhaps her life was meant to take another direction and that her inaction or nonresponse was no so much of being a pushover, but perhaps letting things happen as she didn’t really want those circumstances anyhow.

*Thanks to Howard Books, Renee Chaw and Sandra Byrd for providing a copy for review.*


Best-selling author Sandra Byrd has published nearly three dozen fiction and nonfiction books including her new Tudor-set series, Ladies in Waiting. Book 1, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn launched in 2011. Book 2, The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr will debut in June, 2012.

Her other titles include the French Twist series, which includes the Christy finalist Let Them Eat Cake (2007) and its sequels, Bon Appétit (2008) an Piece de Resistance (2009) as well as the London Confidential series for tweens.

For nearly a decade Sandra has shared her secrets with the writing students she mentors and coaches.

Before turning to full-time writing, Sandra was an acquisitions editor. She lives in the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband, two children, and little dog.

 If you are interested, Sandra is running an AWESOME giveaway on her blog right now where you can enter to win a signed copy of Roses Have Thorns, a $25 e-gift card to, or a Elizabethan inspired necklace! Here’s the link with all the details if you would like to enter to win:


Please visit to learn more, or to invite Sandra to your bookclub via Skype.
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  • Sandra Byrd

    Thank you so much for reading my books – and for your beautiful review which is a true blessing. My “enginerd” son sent this to me, and I thought of you, and your comments about your hubby, when I saw it. :)

    • CherryBlossomMJ

      Please keep writing historicals. ;)