Friday, July 22, 2011

To Die For by Sandra Byrd

To Die For is the first book in the new Ladies in Waiting series by Sandra Byrd.  I don't usually read a lot of historical fiction.  I generally like to stick with the pretend stuff, like you'll find in speculative fiction.  But Sandra Byrd is one of my favorite authors, and I love her novels (I haven't read her YA books, so I can't comment on those, but I adore her adult novels).  Before I get to anything else, though, can I just take a minute to point out how gorgeous this cover is?  It's definitely pretty enough to frame.

I admit, I'm not the most well-versed person on the Tudor period.  An author probably could put whatever they wanted in there and I wouldn't know the difference.  So for the authenticity of the story, I really can't comment.  Except to say that according to Sandra Byrd's author note in the back of the book, she did a lot of research.  She didn't just start writing all willy nilly.

I enjoyed reading from the viewpoint of someone who wasn't so front and center in the Tudor court.  Sometimes a novel told in first person can really make me annoyed with the main character, and I think had the story been told from Anne Boleyn's point of view, that may have happened.  But Meg was such a likable character.  She was honest with herself and others, and was loyal, almost to a fault.  But she wasn't one of those characters that was too perfect either.  I was really rooting for her.

Reading from the point of view of someone who was good friends with and so close to Anne Boleyn definitely made Anne's character more sympathetic.  We're hearing the story from her closest friend instead of one of her many enemies.  I grew to really love Anne, and although I knew what was coming at the end (I do know some history), I was still very sad.  I might have cried a little.

To Die For takes a period of history that we are all familiar with to some degree, and makes the people real.  I felt like I connected with the characters in a way that I haven't been able to in the past with historical fiction.  Sandra Byrd is a Christian writer, and while there is religion in this book (which is to be expected for the time period as well), it's never preachy.  That's one thing I've really enjoyed about her books.  I've never felt preached to or lectured as with some Christian fiction.

This is a wonderful historical fiction novel and I can honestly say that I loved it.  I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series, which is due in 2012.  If you love historical fiction, the Tudor period, or just a really good story, get your hands on this book!  (Release date is August 9th)
Grade: A

Sandra Byrd's Website
On Amazon: To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

Disclosure: I received a review copy of To Die For from the publisher and the only thing I got for writing this review was the pleasure of reading the book. :)

1 comment:

  1. I do love an "A" grade from Brenda. Thank you for another suggestion. I am a historical fiction fan so this is perfect. Did you ever get a chance to read any of Kate Morton's books? I read all three in the past year and I'm still reeling over The Distant Hours, that is my suggestion to you in exchange for all the goods ones you've given me. Thanks!