Monday, August 4, 2014

Elin Ulfsdotter Snakenborg Marchioness of Northampton - Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizaveth I by Sandra Byrd

Elin Ulfsdotter Snakenborg
Marchioness of Northampton
Also known as Helena and Helena the Red

Elin Snakenborg was a Swedish-born noblewoman who became Maid of Honour of Queen Elizabeth I of England, and Marchioness of Northampton by her marriage to William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton. 

She was one of six Swedish noblewomen in the retinue of Princess Cecilia of Sweden, Margravine of Baden, second-eldest daughter of King Gustav I. The women left Sweden in the autumn of 1564 on a voyage to England, at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth I. 

Queen Elizabeth I
Daughter of King Henry VIII and Executed Queen Anne Boleyn

Their voyage took almost a year because it was hampered by bad weather and seasickness. When they landed at Dover, Sir William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton (1513–1571), the brother of the late Queen consort Catherine Parr, was there to greet them.

 1st Marquess of Northampton

The older Marquess of Northampton soon began to court her in earnest, bestowing her with a multitude of extravagant gifts that swept her off her feet. Elin understood the advantages of a rich, aged husband, and possible wealthy widowhood in near future. 

When Swedish Princess Cecilia fled England to avoid creditors, Elin remained behind in the service of Queen Elisabeth. But Elin could not marry the Marquess because his first wife from which he had been divorced, was still living and the English Church refused to acknowledge subsequent marriages. 

While Erin rose to greater heights and ranks through the gracious gifts and bestowments of Queen Elizabeth who was fond of her. she waited for the Marquess to sort through his past marital/divorce problems. When the ex-wife finally died, the Marquess was free to marry Elin. Their childless marriage, however, was short lived, for he died several months later. Elin became one of the wealthiest women in England and second in rank to the Queen. 

Soon, she met Thomas Gorge, Anne Boleyn's second cousin.They fell in love and despite his lower rank and status, they married secretly, much to the chagrin of the queen, who sent Thomas to the Tower and banished Elin from court. However, as one of the queen's favorites, they were soon forgiven and reinstated. 

Elin bore Thomas 8 surviving children, and all the while, the queen continued to bestow lavish gifts and estates and titles to Elin and her husband. 

Author Sandra Byrd has written a beautiful novel about Elin and her life and loves while at Queen Elizabeth's court. 

Roses Have Thorns

From the acclaimed author of To Die For 
comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court.

Book Summary

Like Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage--or your life?

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 her 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.

Book Review

If you've never read a novel by Sandra Byrd, then you're in for a real treat. I love that this book brings to life a lesser known woman in the Tudor era. It's a nice change from the over abundance of novels about Henry VIII's wives. 

Sandra Byrd had delved deeply and truly brought to life Erin Snakenborg in this fascinating portrayal. Through Erin's eyes, we learn more of Queen Elizabeth, the animosity between her and her half-sister Mary Queen of Scots, the many murder plots to kill her off, and the political turmoil of the era.  

With lush descriptions, a compelling first person narrative, brilliant details, and tight dialogue, the author swept me into all the court intrigues of the time. I truly could not stop reading once I began. Historical facts were cleverly weaved into the story, so that keeping track of people, was not onerous. The story follows historical facts closely, which is another definite asset. A great storyline, a compelling heroine, and plenty of intrigue and conflict make this a must read book. I have also read To Die For and The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd and they are equally as good. Read all three! They are wonderfully enjoyable.

1 comment:

Gene Cage said...

Great information. contents are quite interesting.. good

Gene Cage,
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