Juliana St. John, daughter of a merchant knight, is brought to serve Kateryn Parr by her admirer Thomas Seymour. Given to visions of prophecy, Juliana struggles to trust Sir Thomas, but quickly learns to love her mistress like a mother. Court life changes quickly as Kate must set aside her love for Thomas to marry Henry VIII. Juliana helps her mistress survive a religiously divided court and a mercurial husband. When Kate is widowed, she is drawn back into Thomas' waiting arms. Juliana forsees sorrows and misfortunes for her mistress, but she stays loyal to Kate, even after her death.
Juliana St. John gives this Tudor novel a breath of fresh air. She is a very likeable woman, with her unrelenting loyalty and daughter-like devotion to Kate. This novel has a very brutal scene, which will leave readers and Juliana scarred. Her loneliness and heart break after this scene is touching.
Sandra Byrd stayed close to history, while weaving in plausible alternate story lines. The gift of foresight had it's place in the novel, but didn't overwhelm the plotline. Romance and heartache are well placed within the story. The ending brought tears to my eyes.