Book Review: “The Chalice”, by Nancy Bilyeau


The Chalice Book Cover

Joanna Stafford, born of a disgraced family, former prelate nun making her way in life after the dissolution of Dartford Priory, has a destiny — to face head on and upend the religious terrorism inflicted upon England by His Majesty the King, the Lord Privy Seal and the Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of King Henry VIII. The Crown takes the reader on Joanna Stafford’s life journey, and in doing so crafts a mysterious, thrilling and highly believable story of how one person’s actions, whether courageous or cowardly, grand or seemingly small, can change the course of history.

Blending the lives of exemplary developed fictional and historical characters, Nancy Bilyeau paints a fabulously rich plot arc that grabs the reader from the beginning and holds the reader’s apt interest throughout — truly story telling at it’s finest.  Joanna Stafford’s story, as well as those her fictional friends, is rich, compelling and poignant. Never forced and always plot driven, Joanna’s life enmeshes brilliantly with those of Elizabeth Barton, Edward and Gertrude Courtenay, Henry Pole, Lady Mary Tudor and Thomas Howard, just to name a few.

Nancy Bilyeau’s research is spot-on perfect. Her descriptive historical detail is woven so exquisitely with the plot, readers unfamiliar with factual details will enjoy the story nonetheless, while those that are will marvel at how creatively Nancy Bilyeau blends what is known to be true with her fabulous story line.  Avoiding common pratfalls, Nancy never insults the reader’s intelligence, never glamorizes historical figures through revisionist history, and never relies on the popularity of more well known Tudor Era historical figures to carry the story. Plot scenes range from touching to humorous to surprising to exciting to downright chilling.

The Chalice is part historical fiction, part mystery, part gothic paranormal, part light romance and always thrilling. Nancy Bilyeau’s previous debut novel The Crown is an excellent historical fiction thriller tale. Developing her literary mastery even further, The Chalice is truly an example of fiction writing brilliance, any genre. Folks, in short, The Chalice is one “bad ass” piece of Tudor Era historical fiction.

Already newly released in the United Kingdom, pre-orders from Amazon or Barnes and Noble in advance of the American release date of March 5, 2013 are available online now.

 **** Master Class Historical Fiction! 5 Stars! ****

**** QAB “Bad Ass Factor”! A Perfect 10! ****



Beth von Staats

is the owner and administrator of Blogger of "The Tudor Thomases", Beth specializes in writing magazine articles, online historical articles, short stories, and flash fiction.

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