QAB Book Review: THE CHALICE, by Nancy Bilyeau
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 Chalice, Nancy Bilyeau’s outstanding follow-up novel to her debut, 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.
Nancy Bilyeau, who lives in New York City, is the executive editor of DuJour magazine. A prolific award nominated and short list placing screen play writer, Nancy also previously worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. A lover of medieval English history, Nancy’s debut novel, The Crown released in 2012 and her follow-up novel, The Chalice in 2013. Her novels combine historical fiction and thrillers, detailing the exploits of Joanna Stafford, a prelate nun living during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers appreciates Nancy’s support of the website from it’s early inception, and we are proud that she is our first contributing published author. For more information, visit Nancy’s website at http://www.nancybilyeau.com/index.php.
The Chalice in paperback released in the United Kingdom in February 2014 and will release in the United States and Canada March 18, 2014.
Master Class Historical Fiction!
QAB “Bad Ass Factor”! A Perfect 10