Saturday, April 6, 2013

Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Byrd

"We are all concerned for your well-being Majesty," I said.  I slipped one more rose into her Tudor arrangement but had, apparently neglected to snip off a thorn and it broke my flesh and I began to bleed.

"And I for yours.  Be careful," Elizabeth said as she turned back to her dispatches. "Roses have thorns."

Amazing.  That is the word that keeps coming to mind about this book.  The content is fantastic.  Roses Have Thorns is a fictional work based on actual events that occurred during the 16th  and early 17th century in England when Elizabeth I reigned as queen.  Told from the point of view of Elin von Snakenborg, a young women who comes to live in England from Sweden, and becomes one of Elizabeth's "ladies in waiting," the story is about women, relationships, the power that being a servant produces, and the sacrifice that often comes with it. 
There is so much I want to say about this book, but cannot so as not to give away information, so the story may unfold for the reader as it did for me.  I will say that I found it amazing the amount of content in this novel.  I remember looking at the number on the page and thinking, " I am only at page 70?"  Because this is a work of historical fiction, much research was done to stay as true as possible to actual events.  In this particular genre, as well as in Biblical fiction, that is a trait I esteem highly.
I grew to love Elizabeth while reading the novel, but at the same time wanted to withdraw from her because she was often extremely fierce.  Elin von Snakenborg, the voice of the story, was also a woman I came to admire.  The relationships among women and the courses they take is something worthy of study.  The relationship between these two women and the events they weathered makes for a very good story.
A few other thoughts on this novel. As with the other two novels in the trilogy, this one could also be considered Christian fiction, yet it is a little more subtle.  I think that is due to the nature of Elizabeth.  She was quietly spiritual, as is this novel.  There is reoccurring discussion of the division between Protestants and Catholics, but it is not the focus of the book.  There are also many references to scripture, but it is not as overt as was To Die For and The Secret Keeper, the other two in the Ladies in Waiting trilogy. 
Also, the novel, if given a movie rating, would be considered PG-13.  There is mention of physical matters between a man and a woman, but only in the purest sense between a husband and a wife, as God, who created sex, intended it to be.  I felt as though I should mention it because it in my opinion, as such a well done work of historical fiction, it would be a good novel to be included on a homeschool senior level reading list.  There is a lot of information that can lead to further historical research.
Anyone who enjoys historical fiction will enjoy this book.  Those interested in the time period surrounding the Tudors will especially enjoy this novel.  
Many blessings to you as you read!

Disclosure Statement: I received this book free of charge from the publisher. I was not required to give a favorable review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Beth. I appreciate the time you take to read and review! You're a blessing.