Friday, February 3, 2012

Historical Fiction Virtual Tour Stop: The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

Title: The Crown
Author: Nancy Bilyeau
Publisher: Touchstone
Publish Date: January 10, 2012
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Tours

Why You're Reading This Book?:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From "Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the sacred rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London.

The ruthless Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, takes terrifying steps to force Joanna to agree to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may hold the ability to end the Reformation. Accompanied by two monks, Joanna returns home to Dartford Priory and searches in secret for this long-lost piece of history worn by the Saxon King Athelstan in 937 during the historic battle that first united Britain.

But Dartford Priory has become a dangerous place, and when more than one dead body is uncovered, Joanna departs with a sensitive young monk, Brother Edmund, to search elsewhere for the legendary crown. From royal castles with tapestry-filled rooms to Stonehenge to Malmesbury Abbey, the final resting place of King Athelstan, Joanna and Brother Edmund must hurry to find the crown if they want to keep Joanna’s father alive. At Malmesbury, secrets of the crown are revealed that bring to light the fates of the Black Prince, Richard the Lionhearted, and Katherine of Aragon’s first husband, Arthur. The crown’s intensity and strength are beyond the earthly realm and it must not fall into the wrong hands.

With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must now decide who she can trust with the secret of the crown so that she may save herself, her family, and her sacred way of life. This provocative story melds heart-stopping suspense with historical detail and brings to life the poignant dramas of women and men at a fascinating and critical moment in England’s past."

My Two Cents:

I've read plenty about the Tudor era but usually its from the point of view of someone either within the monarchy or very near to the monarchy. This is Nancy Bilyeau's very first novel so going with a less standard type of character in a setting that has become so familiar for so many historical fiction readers could have been a risk. In this case, it was one that really paid off in my own humble point of view.

I enjoy reading about this era but it was nice to see sort of a different point of view. Joanna Stafford is still  close to the monarchy in a way. Her mother was one of Katherine of Aragon's ladies. But as a nun, she's has a very different point of view. She's definitely a fascinating character. I wasn't sure how exciting it would to be to follow a nun but the mystery that Joanna finds herself chasing most definitely kept me reading.

This book is part historical fiction and part mystery. This is not so much of a thriller though. The excitement was definitely a little more subtle to me. The storyline was very interesting. The Dominican order is a form of Catholicism, which of course was under fire during the reign of King Henry the VIII. Remember that the King really wanted to be able to divorce his wife and divorce was not allowed to take place in the Catholic church and therefore the King wanted his own church in order to make sure that he was allowed to do what he wanted to do. It was interesting to see the changes happening in people like Joanna's life because of this.

Bottom line: This book is a scoop of historical fiction and a pinch of mystery and an all around decent read!

Don't Forget To Follow The Rest of the Tour (And don't forget to stop back by A Bookish Affair for a guest post by Nancy Bilyeau and a giveaway of "The Crown"):

Thursday, January 5th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 10th

Thursday, January 12th
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book

Monday, January 16th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, January 18th

Friday, January 20th

Monday, January 23rd
Review at The Book Garden

Wednesday, January 25th
Author Interview & Giveaway at The Owl Bookmark Blog
Friday, January 27th
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Monday, January 30th

Wednesday, February 1st
Author Interview at Bags, Books & Bon Jovi
Friday, February 3rd
Review at A Bookish Affair

Monday, February 6th
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, February 8th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, February 10th

Monday, February 13th
Author Guest Post at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, February 15th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Just One More Paragraph

Friday, February 17th
Review at Unabridged Chick

Monday, February 20th
Review & Giveaway at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Wednesday, February 22nd
Author Interview & Giveaway at Debbie's Book Bag

Friday, February 24th
Review & Giveaway at A Musings Review

Monday, February 27th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Review & Giveaway at Book Drunkard

Wednesday, February 29th
Review & Giveaway at Raging Bibliophile

Friday, March 2nd
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Monday, March 5th
Review & Giveaway at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, March 7th
Review, Author Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Libraria

Thursday, March 8th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at On The Tudor Trail

Friday, March 9th

Monday, March 12th
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, March 14th

Friday, March 16th
Review at Luxury Reading

Monday, March 19th
Author Interview at Bibliophilic Book Blog


  1. I really enjoyed this one too. I agree with you, I liked that it was about the Tudor era but it didn't totally focus on Henry VIII. It was nice to read about some of the other important people during that time.

    1. I thought it was so interesting that it was told from the perspective of a nun!


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