Sunday, August 21, 2011

"To Die For" Review

"To Die For"

by Sandra Byrd

Publisher: Howard Books

Release Date: Aug 9, 2011 

Source: book sent by publisher and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours


My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from  

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.

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

My Review:

Perhaps there is such a thing as too much Anne Boleyn. Having read other books about Anne, I felt like a lot of this book was a rehash of a story I already knew.

One thing that was new about this version was something that I liked a lot. The author portrayed Anne as human, not a manipulative monster. The Anne we've read about before probably wouldn't have even been capable of having a real friend, let alone one so nice as Meg. Anne is still a force to be reckoned with, but we get to see her vulnerable, sometimes even friendly, side.

For the most part, I felt like the book was Meg telling Anne's story and we didn't get to know enough about Meg herself. Also, a lot of Meg's story was very sad. I definitely could have done without knowing all the graphic violence she endured from her family.  I feel like this harsh sort of story will appeal to fans of the historical fiction genre though, because it seems to be in a lot of books in the genre. However, I prefer a gentler story.

My favorite characters were perhaps the gentlest in the story-Meg's brother, Thomas, and her on again off again love, Will. These two men were strong enough not to abuse the women in their lives in order to feel powerful.

Main Characters: 4/5

Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5

Cover: 5/5 (gorgeous!!)

Writing: 4/5

Bottom Line: I recommend this book to those who haven't read much about Anne yet, or those who must read every book about her. Otherwise, it may feel repetitive.

This review is part of the To Die For Virtual Tour:

Tour schedule:
Author Website/Ladies in Waiting Web Page:
Sandra Byrd's Blog:
Sandra Byrd's FB Page:!/sandrabyrdwrites

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