Monday, April 29, 2013

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

Synopsis: In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies…

My ThoughtsFirst apologies to both Amy and Nancy for the tardiness of this post.  I was supposed to have it up this morning and did not realize that when I finished the review I saved it without scheduling it to post!  

Nancy Bilyeau's debut novel The Crown was one of my top reads of last year so I was excited to get  my hands on the follow up The Chalice.  I was not disappointed.  Here we see former novice nun Joanna Stafford try to embrace her life outside the confines of her demolished Dartford Priory.  Although she seeks to live a normal life, Joanna is a woman who trouble just seems to follow as her past comes back to haunt her.  A prophecy which was partially revealed to Joanna when she was just a scared 16 year old girl has now come to bear and there are those with their own motivations to secure Joanna's involvement.  Amidst the confusion of her new life, Joanna does not know who to trust and must keep her wits about her as her fate unfolds.  Should she embrace it or struggle to avoid it?  Complicating matters are her feelings for two men-one whom she feels more close to than anyone and the other who would do absolutely anything for her.

I am big fan of Tudor novels and I am definitely a fan of Nancy Bilyeau.  She does so well with books that peel back the layers bit by bit.  Poor Joanna is besieged on so many sides I never quite knew what was going to happen or even if a person she could trust would ever appear in the novel.  This book is full of history and even if it was full of prophecies coming to fruition that gave the book a bit of mystic bent, it was a lot of fun following Joanna on her journey.  I enjoyed this one just as much as The Crown mainly because the characters met in the previous book took on new dimensions and the new ones introduced were interesting and well drawn.  Really enjoyed this one and can't wait for the next!

 I received this book for review via NetGalley for participation with the author's tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  These are my honest thoughts on the book.

Now for the giveaway!  Up for grabs is one copy of The Chalice!

Open to: US only

To Enter: Leave your name and email in the comments.  One extra entry each for sharing on Facebook/your blog/Twitter.

Ends: Midnight May 10th.  Winner will be announced and contacted the 11th.

For more reviews, giveaways, interviews and guest posts with Nancy you can view the rest of the tour schedule HERE.

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.
For more information, please visit Nancy Bilyeau's website.  You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter


  1. I read The Crown and loved it! So excited to read her second book!

    Janet P.

  2. I purchased the Crown and am excited about book #2!

    wordywon at gmail dot com

  3. I read The Crown and enjoyed it very much. I would love to read this new novel. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. The Crown is on my TBR list. I've heard such great things about it. I'd love to win this- it would get me moving on book 1! s.asher135(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. The time of the Tudors is fascinating for so many reasons - shifting loyalties, flux of the English language, change in religion, etc. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

    I follow via email: nrlymrtl at gmail dot com

  6. Really like to read this...I loved the crown. Please enter me.
    Marilyn ( Tweeted and shared on FB.

  7. Loved The Crown. would love to win this one, thanks.

  8. I am intrigued by the reviews and can't wait to read this book.

  9. This sounds really good! I can't wait to read!

    volta2173 at sbcglobal dot net

  10. i so need to read The Chalice!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!
    shared on FB,

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  11. Sounds so amazing and interesting. I love the history and the setting. Please enter me. Thanks!