Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Summary: In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between an unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.
Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.
Review: An enjoyable tale of a foreign woman caught up in the pull of Queen Elizabeth.
I liked Elin von Snakenborg as a character. I can’t imagine coming to visit a foreign country with your princess and then deciding to stay. I know that she had her reasons, namely a marriage proposal and her fiancé loving her sister, but there was a good chance that she would never she her family again. Today, with air travel, it is much easier to visit other countries and you can see your family much more easier. It was interesting to see Elizabeth through the lens of a foreign born person, not an Englishman.
This book really demonstrates how much of a pull Elizabeth had on people. She would get annoyed when her ladies got married and would be furious if they did it without her permission. Friendship with the queen seemed a very one sided affair. Sure, the person would get properties, titles, monies, and gifts, but they would lose a lot of their freedom. I liked that Elin actually saw Elizabeth as a human being and not as an untouchable monarch. I was glad that she was able to get her happy ending.
Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy historical fiction about queens or fiction about the Tudors.