Book Review: To Die For by Sandra Byrd

To Die ForTo Die For: A Novel of Ann Boelyn (Ladies in Waiting #1)

Author: Sandra Byrd

Publisher: Howard Books

Published: August 9, 2011

award-todieforTo 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.

AMAZON GOODREADS BARNES & NOBLE


REVIEW

Journey back to fifteenth century England in the first novel of the Ladies in Waiting series written by prolific author Sandra Byrd. Told from the perspective of Meg Wyatt, one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies in waiting and dear friends, To Die For is a story of enduring friendship, terrifying trial, and cutthroat determination set during a captivating time in England’s history.

As an avid Anglophile who is fascinated by the Tudor period, I could not contain my excitement when I discovered the Ladies in Waiting series. Many fiction and non-fiction books cover the various subjects within this time period, but Byrd’s series was the first of Christian fiction I found that set itself during the time of Henry VIII’s reign. Knowing I would experience the romance, horrors, societal commentary, and history of this time while still reading a story grounded within the expectations of Christian fiction gladdened my heart. For that alone, I thank Byrd as well as Howard Publishers for readers and lovers of the Tudor period this series.

To Die For is the perfect beginning to the Ladies in Waiting series as Anne Boleyn’s story is well known, well loved, and exceedingly emotional. While the stringent part of me would have liked to have Katherine of Aragon’s story told first (as Henry VIII’s first wife), undoubtedly Anne Boleyn’s tragic romance with the Tudor king made for the better beginning of the series. Byrd’s take on Anne’s is both heart-wrenching and fresh. As familiar as I was with the fate that befell this queen, while reading To Die For I turned the pages as if I didn’t know Anne would meet her death on the scaffold. I wanted a different outcome for her because through Byrd’s story I had a different perspective on the unique situation, extraordinary qualities, and ultimately heartbreaking ending of Queen Anne.

I loved seeing Anne’s story unfold through the eyes of Meg Wyatt. Not only did I learn of Tudor history–pertaining both to Anne and Henry’s romance but outside of the court as well–through the fictionalized story of an admirable woman, Meg’s steadfast friendship, bravery, challenges, and successes brought To Die For to life. I walked alongside this heroine through the hallways of Hampton Court, in the field of Hever Castle, and at the scaffold of the Tower of London. I watched Anne win Henry’s heart, travail through childbirths, and lose her life. Meg could not have been a better heroine to lead Queen Anne’s story.

The first in the Ladies in the Waiting will remain far from being so in the number of times I read this book. Fortunately, the other two books are already holding court on my bookshelf, waiting to be read.

4 stars


The Ladies in Waiting Series by Sandra Byrd

A rich alchemy of fact and fiction, the Ladies in Waiting series chronicles the glittering court lives of three Tudor Queens and the women chosen to be their closest friends and companions. Each book envelops the reader in sweeping romance, heartwarming and heartbreaking circumstances, and heroines who choose lives worth risking all for.

Ladies-In-Waiting


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sandra ByrdBestselling author Sandra Byrd has published more than fifty books over an editing and writing career spanning twenty-five years.

Sandra’s series of historically sound Gothic romances launched with the best-selling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor’s Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, published in 2017 and was named by the American Library Association’s Booklist as one of the Top Ten Inspirational Fiction books of the year.

Her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.

Sandra is passionate about helping writers develop their talents and their work through coaching and developmental editing and has been a working editor for more than two decades. She mentored hundreds of writers through the Christian Writers Guild and continues to guide developing authors toward success each year as a writing coach and in-depth editor. For testimonials about her editing and coaching, please visit novelcoaching.com or visit sandrabyrd.com to learn more about her books.

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