|Helena von Snakenborg|
In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiancé 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 her unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.
|Mary, Queen of Scots|
A rich, tautly woven tale of love, deception, and grace, Roses Have Thorns vividly conjures the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots and is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
—"Sonnet 35," William Shakespeare
November: Year of Our Lord 1564
Tre Kronor, Stockholm, Sweden
Winter, Spring, and Summer: Year of Our Lord 1565
At Sea and Over Land
Elin Ulfsdotter ~ Lady Elin von Snakenborg of noble heritage ~ leaves Stockholm as one of the ladies in waiting of Princess Cecelia on their way to England. The seemingly one month sea and land voyage takes ten months.
The ship wound its way through the fjords and into the open ocean. What should have been a journey of perhaps one unpleasant month turned into a nightmare of nearly ten. There was no ill weather that did not bedevil us, from ice storm to windy squall that threatened to scupper the ship nearly every week. The seas churned, gray trimmed with foamy white ribbons like an old man's beard, and most days we kept in our cabins.
--Roses Have Thorns, 10
|Elizabeth I Queen of England|
With the lack of an heir, the political scene is uncertain. The queen needed a successor and an heir. With enemies plotting the queen's downfall, country backing was so important to eradicate uprisings. Queen Elizabeth I was betrothed to her countrymen and visited sections frequently for the people to be aware of her interest of them.
How readily one may be raised in this realm and how quickly the ennobled may fall.Uncertain of whom to trust in and out of the English court, surveillance becomes steeper.
I had arrived on these shores nearly nine years earlier. I’d thought that William had brought me from girl to woman, but that night I had truly reached maturity. I had prayed for the queen, against her enemies in Spain and in France. But I understood for the first time, then, that the enemies with the greatest potential to harm were the ones closest at hand and to heart.I liked the depth of research for this novel, which may be read as a stand-alone if you have not read the first two books in the series. Also to be noted are the Family Trees that show the lineage. Roses Have Thorns revealed how much control the queen had over her court, bestowing or withholding honor in their personal decisions during this Tudor era.
--Helena, Marchioness of Northampton, Ibid., 129
Roses Have Thorns:
A Novel of Elizabeth I
Ladies in Waiting, Book 3
Author: Sandra Byrd