What she sees in secret, she may not tell.
Mistress Juliana St. John is the lovely, forthright daughter of a prosperous knight’s family. Though all expect her to marry the son of her late father’s business partner, time and chance interrupt, sending her to the sumptuous but deceptive court of Henry VIII.
Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane, returns to Wiltshire to conclude his affairs with Juliana’s father’s estate and chances upon her reading as lector in the local church. He sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves and wants most to please, Kateryn Parr. Juliana’s mother agrees to have her placed with Parr for a season and Juliana goes, though reluctantly.
For she keeps a secret.
Juliana has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one vibrant vision she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of a highly born young woman, while it was still on her body, to perilous consequence.
As Juliana accompanies Kateryn Parr to court, Henry’s devout sixth queen raises the stakes for all reformers. Support of firebrand Anne Askew puts the queen and her ladies in life-threatening jeopardy, as does the queen’s desire to influence her husband’s—and the realm’s—direction and beliefs. Later, without Henry’s strong arm, the court devolves to competition, duplicity, and betrayal. The risks could not be higher as Juliana must choose between love and honor, personal fulfillment and sacrifice. Ultimately, her course is driven by a final kept secret, one that undoes everything she thought she knew.
A young woman with the gift of prophecy becomes entangled in Henry VIII's court in this engaging novel. After her father dies, Juliana St. John is encouraged by family friend Sir Thomas Seymour to enter the household of Kateryn Parr, the last of Henry VIII's six wives. Juliana adjusts relatively well to her new environment, but soon she has recurring visions of Sir Thomas, her father's former business partner, chopping up a young woman's dress. It is only when Juliana begins to connect her dreams to the new people in her life that she discovers some startling secrets. Byrd (To Die For) crafts a well-researched historical novel that engrosses readers in Juliana's world and the juicy details of the Tudor court. Although the prose often lapses into overly stylized Renaissance speak, Anglophiles and history buffs alike will surely enjoy this bird's-eye view into royal politics, love, and scandal.