Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review + Giveaway - To Die For by Sandra Byrd

AUTHOR:    Sandra Byrd
INFO:    Paperback, Historical Fiction, 325 pages
PUBLISHED:   Howard Books, 2011
SOURCE:   Received from Publisher for Review and Blog Tour


 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 TAKE:    Anne Boleyn has been a subject of fascination for me for many years.  I tend to read any new book that comes along relating to her or the Tudor dynasty.  To Die For is the newest addition to this sub-genre of historical fiction.  It has earned 4.5 Jewels from me as well as a prominent place on my personal library's keeper shelf.

Sandra Byrd has taken the well documented historical figure of Anne Boleyn and given us a completely fresh new look at her life.  Told in the voice of Anne's childhood and life-long friend Meg Wyatt, we get a different perspective of what their life may have been like.  The author seamlessly blends the historical facts into a fictional tale of friendship, love and loyalty. The realistic dialogue and interaction between characters such as Meg and Anne as well as with their brothers added a very human touch to the politics and intrigues of life at court.  We see into the horrible, grasping Edmund as well as the loving dreamer, Thomas.  Our peek into the Wyatts' life at home with a dying mother and a hard-hearted father helps us see how everyone is at the mercy of the King and his whims, no matter how far away from society they might be.

Meg's thoughts and observations add much color and humanity to this story of the ages.  While we know much of the facts surrounding their tale, it was enjoyable to get lost in a version that may have been. I admit that I couldn't put it down until I was completely finished with this engrossing book. 

The book includes some great extras with a reading group guide and an author Q & A. 

You can learn more about Sandra Byrd and her books by visiting her website or finding her on Facebook.  To Die For is the first book in Ms. Byrd's new Ladies In Waiting series.

Out of 5 JEWELS, I give it:

TO PURCHASE A COPY:   Amazon or The Book Depository
Check out the Full Tour Schedule to see what the other tour hosts thought of To Die For.

Sandra Byrd and Amy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours are generously offering one reader a chance to win their own copy of To Die For.  Thank you ladies!
  • Open to residents of US, CAN, UK, AUS & NZ. 
  • Must be at least 13 years old.
  • Leave a comment with your name and email address
  • Contest ends 8/23 at midnight PST.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning email.

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~~~~~ Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own.  I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links.  I may receive books in  order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one.  Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.


  1. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  2. One of the most interesting and sad times in history.
    Theresa N

  3. Sounds fascinating! Please count me in.

    Jinky is Reading

  4. Really interested in this one.

  5. LOVE Tudor's! Nice review, hope I win it to get lost in that wonderful time! Thanks for the giveaway! Lissette_125(AT)hotmail(do​t)com

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Thanks for the giveaway...I love the Tudor period.

    littleone AT shaw doT ca

  8. The time period for this book looks amazing. I read a lot of historical fiction but not so much from this era and would like to with this book.


  9. I love all things Tudor! Thanks! I'll keep my fingers crossed!


  10. Thank you, Jules, for reviewing and for hosting me on your blog. My greatest desire is to add enjoyable books to a genre I love and if you were engrossed, I'm thrilled! Thanks, too, to readers willing to give my book a try. Many books beckon to me, too, so I understand the dilemma.

  11. Thanks for the fantastic giveaway!

  12. I cannot wait to read this book, thanks for the giveaway!

  13. Thanks for the giveaway.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  14. I'm an avid Tudor lover and this book just looks wonderful. C: Can't wait!


  15. Great review! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Areeths @ new DOT rr DOT com

  16. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me!!

    brnterri at gmail dot com

  17. I really want to read this! Thank you for the giveaway!

    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  18. I love it when history is brought alive.

    On my list.


  19. Thank you for the chance to win the book!
    deedeebamagirl at yahoo dot com

  20. I never get tired of reading about Anne Boleyn. I'm eager to read this, too!
    rlawrence110 at yahoo dot com

  21. What an interesting and unique time period...
    I enjoy reading historical books written
    during the time period of Henry VIII.
    Many thanks, Cindi

  22. great giveaway
    follow via gfc

  23. Historical fiction and a new series! What could be better?

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  24. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this series. It sounds very good. Tore923@aol.com

  25. GREAT review Jules...just when I think I've read just about all I can about Anne Boleyn...a new book hits the shelves. Would love this one for my permanent bookshelf as well. Fondly, Roberta

  26. This looks like an awesome book. I love historicals, especially the "Tudor". Thanks for giveaway, please put my name in the hat!!!


  27. I love these historical fiction novels! Please enter me in the draw.

    My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  28. Thanks for the giveaway! I'd love to read this book!


  29. While I love reading Tudor books, there have been so many novels written about Anne that do little to introduce anything new. Sandra Byrd's novel sounds like a refreshing take told from an unknown perspective (at least for me). I look forward to reading this one!

    Thank you for the giveaway.


  30. I LOVE historical fiction! This sounds so good. Thanks for the opportunity!
    -Carly Waid

  31. This sounds fascinating. I think it is hard for us to really realize just how susceptible everyone was to the whims and tempers of the king In the early centuries. He could destroy a person or a family at his pleasure and there was little one could do about. This should be an interesting view of Henry VIII and his court.

    Thanks for the review and the giveaway.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  32. I would love to read this. Please count me in :)


  33. I love reading stories about the Tudors.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  34. Most of the historicals that I read are historical romance but this sounds like a really good story and I would love to win a copy of it to read.
    June M.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  35. I adore historical novels. Lovely review and because we share the love of about Anne Boleyn..


  36. I love historical fiction. Thanks for the giveaway.

  37. This sounds fascinating. I visited Anne Bolyn's childhood home when I was 13. I've has a soft spot for this Tudor queen.


  38. I've been reading a lot of Tudor fiction and non-fiction (mainly Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir) lately, so it'd be great to get a new perspective. Thank you for this lovely giveaway! :)

    kate1485 at hotmail.com

  39. THis looks so interesting! What a great take on an oft-told story - kate [at] mynameiskate [dot] ca

  40. I too tend to devour anything about Anne Boleyn. P Gregory's books and Showtime's "Tudors" got me started down that road. While she appeared to be a very scheming person, I also thought her to be a bit sad too.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  41. Thank you for the giveaway! It is on my TRL.


    mary_reiss @ hotmail.com

  42. I would love to read this interesting book. Please enter me. Thanks!

    Anita Yancey

  43. I am very interested in this book. Would love to learn more about Anne Boleyn. Will soon have a Tudor history fan club here! I just met someone who works for my surgeon is crazy about this era so we can have some great discussions about this book. Thank you for this giveaway.


  44. Would love to read this, thnx for the awesome giveaway!!

    ctymice at gmail dot com


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