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To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn (Ladies in Waiting Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Sandra Byrd
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


“In To Die For, Sandra Byrd gifts the reader with a fresh look at Anne Boleyn through the eyes of her lifelong friend Meg Wyatt. But Meg commands her own interest and respect in the Tudor world of triumph and tragedy. Readers will be drawn to the events, beautifully depicted, but also to the emotions, skillfully conveyed. A new Tudor historical to treasure.”

—Karen Harper, author of The Queen's Governess

"In this moving story of a friendship that survives a queen's rise and fall, Sandra Byrd reaches beyond the familiar stereotypes to give us the story of two remarkable women: Anne Boleyn and Meg Wyatt. A refreshingly three-dimensional Anne and a Meg of courage and integrity make this novel a must for your Tudor library."

—Susan Higginbotham, author of The Queen of Last Hopes

“Ms. Byrd shows a wonderful sense of time and place in her novel, To Die For. Her characters and her story are drawn with precision. The new life she breathes into well-worn notables like Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, as seen through her character, Meg, is simply captivating.”

—Diane Haeger, author of The Queen's Rival

“Most readers of Tudor historicals think they know Queen Anne Boleyn. They'll meet a very different Anne in Sandra Byrd's wonderfully told To Die For. Anne's life-long friend Meg Wyatt tells the tale of Anne's rise from lady-in-waiting to the arms of King Henry VIII and the throne of England until her tragic fall. Meg, who rises and falls with Anne, seeks her own lost love and faith. Anne's influence during the English Reformation is an integral and refreshing part of this story, one that Byrd tells with authority, adding a new and honest dimension to Anne's life and death . . . A novel to savor and return to.”

—Jeane Westin, author of His Last Letter: Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester

“Sandra Byrd's first venture into historical fiction is nothing short of brilliant. All the Tudor details are perfectly placed, like gemstones in a royal crown, yet there is far more to this compelling novel than mere history. The characters live and breathe, their struggles are real, their longings palpable. Seeing Anne Boleyn's story through the eyes of her closest friend provides a well-rounded, even sympathetic view of a woman often vilified in history books. As Meg's story unfolds, Sandra Byrd does Philippa Gregory one better, giving readers a wider glimpse of history, a greater measure of hope, and an ending that satisfies at the deepest level. Simply put, To Die For is the best historical novel I've read in many a season, a masterpiece of history and heart.”

—Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times bestselling author of Mine Is the Night

“If you love Philippa Gregory, you’ll adore Sandra Byrd! Through the eyes of Anne Boleyn’s most trusted friend, Meg Wyatt, Ms. Byrd seamlessly weaves sacred threads of history with those of captivating imagination to take us on an unforgettable journey of the heart. The paths we travel—at once both familiar and new—are bathed in hope that casts an eternal light on the characters’ hearts, and the reader’s. I've no doubt that if Anne and Meg could somehow read To Die For, they would thank Ms. Byrd for telling their stories with such grace and beauty.”

—Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of Within My Heart and The Inheritance

"As a reader who appreciates well-researched historical fiction, I truly enjoyed Sandra Byrd's To Die For. Anne Boleyn has long held a fascination for contemporary readers, and I was pleased to discover this account of her remarkable life. Through her charm, intelligence, and wit, she changed the course of history."

—Angela Hunt, author of The Fine Art of Insincerity

Starred Review  "Told through the eyes of Anne Boleyn’s best friend, Meg Wyatt, this stunning novel by French Twist series author Byrd re-examines Boleyn’s life from her beginnings to her rise and eventual fall in the Tudor court. Meg has her own tale of young love and pride, having turned her back on her childhood love when he accepted a religious calling. She travels with Anne to court and finds her life intimately tied to Anne’s changing fortunes. Byrd’s novel adds a depth to the character of Anne Boleyn that is often missing in other novels, and she brings the history to life in exquisite detail. Readers might indeed find themselves sympathizing with the young queen. Highly recommended for fans of Philippa Gregory."

Library Journal

"With the vivid descriptions the author provides, To Die For is an interesting work of historical fiction that offers a fresh look at the court of King Henry VIII."

—Romantic Times (4 stars)


"Told through the eyes of Anne Boleyn's best friend, Meg Wyatt, this stunning novel by French Twist series author Byrd re-examines Boleyn's life from her beginnings to her rise and eventual fall in the Tudor court. Meg has her own tale of young love and pride, having turned her back on her childhood love when he accepted a religious calling. She travels with Anne to court and finds her life intimately tied to Anne's changing fortunes. Byrd's novel adds a depth to the character of Anne Boleyn that is often missing in other novels, and she brings the history to life in exquisite detail. Readers might indeed find themselves sympathizing with the young queen. Highly recommended for fans of Philippa Gregory."

--"Library Journal", starred review, selected for the Best Christian Fiction Books of 2011

Product Details

  • File Size: 2923 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1439183112
  • Publisher: Howard Books (August 9, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IK9C4S
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,695 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Awesome! September 16, 2011
5 stars~
Every so often a book is written that completely overcomes all expectations you have for a genre. To Die For by Sandra Byrd is that novel. Not only does it bring to the forefront issues of faith but loyalty and the importance of sisterly affection between friends in a way that males you forget you're reading fiction. Fans of Tudor England and the life of Anne Boleyn will love this story regardless if they like Christian fiction or not. Byrd deftly ties in the faith of the characters with the historical goings on of the Church of England in the 16th century.

This isn't the first time that I've read a story of the Boleyn family but it is by far one of the best. To Die For involves Meg Wyatt, Anne's friend from childhood and follows her life and Anne's life as their stars rise at Court and through Anne's demise. The entire story took only a day to get through because I so wanted to know what happened to Meg. We all know how Anne's story ended but between her birth and untimely death there is a lot speculation on who she really was. Ms. Byrd did an excellent job making Anne as a woman relatable, Anne as a friend realistic and Anne as a queen unshakable and Meg a friend in and lady in the truest sense. I think she did both of the ladies justice.

If you want to read story that blends fact and fiction seamlessly, read this. If you want to read a story of the power of friendship, read this. If you want to be thoroughly entertained and strengthen your faith at the same time then by all means read this book! If you don't believe me, as of 9/16/11 every single review on Amazon is 4 stars and above and for good reason.

*I received my complimentary copy courtesy of the author and publisher in exchange for posting my honest review.*
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written. Excellent read. August 5, 2011
"'...God did not create me to be any man's plaything...' Anne stopped and faced me afore taking my hand in her own. `God has given me clear instructions on how a man is to treat his wife. I require--and desire--that kind of treatment. I will not back down.'" (from page 126 of Sandra Byrd's "To Die For".)

I couldn't read this book fast enough, but then again, I couldn't read it slow enough. I didn't want to put it down; I didn't want the story to end. History blended with enough fiction pulled me into Henry the VIII's court. Life was breathed into names I only knew from history classes. I believe I even heard the swish of beautiful gowns as everyone danced around the ballroom.

Ms. Byrd tells the controversial story of Anne Boleyn from the perspective of Anne's lifelong friend, Meg Wyatt. It begins when two carefree girls ride horses, make pledges, and flirt with boys. Being upper class daughters' specific etiquette was expected. Their story of friendship grows through trials of good versus evil, betrayal, envy, and abuse. Along the way, they become stronger women in their beliefs of people, marriage, and spiritual matters.

"To Die For" made me laugh, weep, and ponder. My heart rejoiced when Meg and Anne rejoiced, and broke when their hearts broke. Then, I would remember, "Much of this really did happen; it's not just fictional make-believe."

Despite not wanting to put the book down, I had to stop long enough to brush up on my knowledge of the era. As a lover of history, I appreciated the author's notes and Q&A section explaining certain historical versus fiction discrepancies. Ms. Byrd's research and love of the period certainly comes through on the pages of "To Die For."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fails to extend our understanding of Anne Boleyn November 30, 2012
Fictional account of Anne Boleyn's rise to queen as told through the eyes of a friend. Historical novels are a mixed bag. They can range from the totally fabricated account that happens to include someone with a historical name that lived during this time period, to the incredibly factual stories that provide as much history as a history book while remaining a novel (for instance, those written by Edward Rutherfurd). This novel falls to the middle with leanings toward more fictional. My tastes run to Edward Rutherfurd, and I would recommend anything he's written. While this book seems to generally hit the mark for factual, it didn't manage to impart any real new learning to the story or the setting. I may have gotten a little more perspective on Anne's state of mind towards Henry, but that's the extent of what I gained through the novel. You could probably spend half an hour on the web with Wikipedia and other sources and get to the same state of understanding (or better).

If you want to read this because you like novels set in the early 1500's, then what you have is a romance novel set in the court of King Henry VIII. It's not all that scintillating and breaks form fairly often, using language written in our perspective of that time period (how did they really speak anyway?) while dropping in terms like "damage control" occasionally. I found the paradox amusing.

I suppose, if you have no concept of what Anne Boleyn went through, or to what level of barbarism Henry sank to, then this is an OK introduction. If you have any understanding of the era, then this is not the novel to read. If you want a romance novel set in the court of Henry VIII, then this is just OK. It will keep you entertained while refreshing your mind a bit on how the reformation was driven and how Henry split with Rome.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good Read
Published 1 month ago by Julie A. Pike
3.0 out of 5 stars All Tudor novels have covers with Women lacking heads.
OK story, bit of a slog really
Published 4 months ago by Fozzetti
3.0 out of 5 stars To Die For
Anne Boleyn was destined to climb high...and her best friend Meg was destined to be in her shadow the entire time. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Megan
5.0 out of 5 stars Book 1 in the Ladies in Waiting series
Sunday, August 24, 2014
To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn ~ Book 1 in the Ladies in Waiting series by Sandra Byrd, ©2011

Author Sandra Byrd has written a very... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kathleen
5.0 out of 5 stars Tigergirl79
Good read! A fictional account that follows historic lines but tells an intriguing story of Anne Boelyn's short reign as Henry VIII's second wife and queen.
Published 8 months ago by Maybe 77
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Enjoyed the story line. Novel held my interest from start to finish. Would recommend to any one interested in period novels and historical fiction.
Published 11 months ago by Ady Hintz
5.0 out of 5 stars Obsessed by your books.
I've bought 4 books and read ten I about 10 days. I have already purchased #5. I finished this one tonight and got so attached to your characters. Read more
Published 11 months ago by B. Bell
3.0 out of 5 stars The writing is grand. The research, not so much
Dear American writers,

* Get your history right. If you are writing about the state of the Reformed Church in 1530 London, for instance, know what that meant. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Charlene Vickers
5.0 out of 5 stars He Really Took Her Head Off
Talk about some great stories, I think Sandra Byrd's book "To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn" was fabulous. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Kathy Dobyns
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and easy read
This was an interesting book from the perspective of a friend of Anne Bolyen's - written well I had no idea until the end that it was a Christian novel, the author did a fantastic... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013.

Sandra's new series, Daughters of Hampshire, historically sound Gothic romances, launches in 2015 with Book One: Mist of Midnight.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens, including a best-selling devotional.

A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra has published many nonfiction articles and books. She is passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

Please visit to learn more, or to invite Sandra to your bookclub via Skype.

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