About the Book:
About the Author:
Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. Her latest position is features editor of Du Jour magazine. A native of the Midwest, she graduated from the University of Michigan. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
I will start by writing that I received this book on a Tuesday at around 5:30PM. I cooked dinner and started reading it around 7PM that same night. I read and read and read and went to bed around 11PM and couldn't sleep because I kept thinking about the book. I got up and finished it at 2:30AM. I guess you could say I enjoyed it, eh?
This is the sequel to The Crown and it follows novice Joanna Stafford as she tries to adjust to life after her beloved Dartford Abbey had been dissolved by Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. The book is so well written that you do not have to have read The Crown to thoroughly enjoy The Chalice. Any pertinent details are skilfully woven into the story to keep the first time reader informed and so as to not bore the sequel reader with too much repetition.
In this novel Joanna Stafford feels the weight of prophecy for it is foretold that she is the one who will be the impetus to return the "one true church" to England. But the three seers who give her the three pieces of the prophecy do not tell her exactly how she is to do this. She is left with a desire to be left alone to pursue her quite life and the tapestry business so longs to develop. But it is not to be because powerful forces are determined that she should meet her future.
Joanna is a simple young woman who wants nothing more than to live a simple life but that, it seems is not to be. She is pushed and pulled by forces worldly, political and powerful each one wanting something from her until she decides to do what she thinks is the best answer to the conundrum placed before her. She is distantly related to many of the powerful players of the time including the Duke of Norfolk, and the King himself. This relationship does not help her as Stephen Gardiner threatens her safety and peace of mind.
I love this character because even though she is a strong woman she is still true to her time. She has strong beliefs and while she does think for herself she still behaves mostly in a way I would believe a woman of this period would behave. I hate nothing more in a historical novel than women acting out of character for the times. Joanna is a heroine for the Tudor age.
The plot is fast paced and the historical characters mix well with the fictional ones added (Joanna is fictional) for a good combination of real and what could have been. Ms. Bilyeau writes with in a manner to bring the period alive to the reader. I got lost in this book and as indicated above I couldn't put it down, even to sleep. My only qualms were a couple of plot points that were just too convenient to move things forward. No spoilers from me! This is a minor, minor complaint and I surely hope that Joanna Stafford has further adventures for me to follow.
You can see The Chalice Tour Schedule
You can see my review of The Crown
You can pre-order The Chalice on Amazon.com (available March 5)
You can purchase The Crown on Amazon.com
One lucky US reader will win a copy of The Chalice. How do you win? It's easy! Just hop on the Rafflecopter. Good luck everyone.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Chalice from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for my honest review. I received no compensation for this post.