Wednesday, December 7, 2011

To Die For by Sandra Byrd

Book Blurb:

To Die For, is the story of Meg Wyatt, pledged forever as the best friend to Anne Boleyn since their childhoods on neighboring manors in Kent. When Anne’s star begins to ascend, of course she takes her best friend Meg along for the ride. Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling at first, but as Anne’s favor rises and falls, so does Meg’s. And though she’s pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what the test, Meg just might lose her greatest love—and her own life—because of it.

Meg's childhood flirtation with a boy on a neighboring estate turns to true love early on. When he is called to follow the Lord and be a priest she turns her back on both the man and his God. Slowly, though, both woo her back through the heady times of the English reformation. In the midst of it, Meg finds her place in history, her own calling to the Lord that she must follow, too, with consequences of her own. Each character in the book is tested to figure out what love really means, and what, in this life, is worth dying for.

Though much of Meg’s story is fictionalized, it is drawn from known facts. The Wyatt family and the Boleyn family were neighbors and friends, and perhaps even distant cousins. Meg’s brother, Thomas Wyatt, wooed Anne Boleyn and ultimately came very close to the axe blade for it. Two Wyatt sisters attended Anne at her death, and at her death, she gave one of them her jeweled prayer book—Meg.

My Review:

I have never read anything before that retells the story of what life would have been like for Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. I have heard the story before but it was really enjoyable to read a fiction based side of what Meg and Anne’s friendship would be like. Of course most of the time I just wanted to strangle Henry VIII myself but I think that is what makes this an accurate description!

I had a bit of a hard time reading about what life was like for Meg and Anne. I really admired how strong of a women Meg was and how much she sacrificed for her friend. At times though I just wish that Meg was able to have her happily ever after and of course I wept and hurt will all the pain that Anne went through.

Meg’s love story is what really kept this book engrossing for me. I felt all the turmoil that she went through with her relationship with Will. The kisses that were shared were passionate and I felt like crying when he had to say good-bye to her. I wanted to scream, God this is not fair. I was really happy that the author concluded Meg’s story and it left a smile on my face to see some happiness brought to her life.

This novel was more than I expected it to be! The history was detailed yet the story was engaging. The faith portrayed was inspiring. I wanted to cry, I wanted to smile and at times I was grossed out, but I thought it was a great story and if I have time, I will be reading it again. It’s one of those stories that you probably would get more out of it every time you read it because there is so much there! Great story!!

Content: A bit gruesome with the be-heading and some heated kissing. There was also a lot of conversation of married life – recommended for adults.

Thank you to Sandra Byrd for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my personal and honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

About Sandra Byrd:

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 App├ętit (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.

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