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 goodreads.com:
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.
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
Cover: 5/5 (gorgeous!!)
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: http://hfvirtualbooktours.
Author Website/Ladies in Waiting Web Page: http://www.sandrabyrd.com/
Sandra Byrd's Blog: http://sandrabyrd.com/blog/
Sandra Byrd's FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/home.