Book Review: The Chalice – Nancy Bilyeau

Title: The Chalice
Author: Nancy Bilyeau
ISBN: 9781476708652
Pages: 496
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

After the events of The Crown, Dartford Priory has been abolished, along with the other Catholic religious institutions under King Henry VIII’s direction. Joanna Stafford, now just a common woman, has settled in the town of Dartford and is content to live a quiet life raising her young nephew. But the world isn’t finished with Joanna, as she learns that she’s at the center of a series of prophecies that will restore the Catholic Church to England, and must play her part in bringing about the events of the future.

Review:

The Crown was a riveting historical novel that defied expectations and truly was a suspense thriller from beginning to end. That’s a hard thing to follow up on, especially considering that it was supposed to be the first in a trilogy, so it was with a little bit of wariness that I picked up the second book, The Chalice. Happily, though, there was little to worry about; Bilyeau continues the tense, climactic storyline and maintains the urgent tone that made the first novel so wonderful to read.

Once again, Joanna is at the center of continent-wide events in The Chalice. She’s understandably conflicted in this novel; she wants nothing more than to live a quiet life, to marry and raise her nephew Arthur, since being a nun is no longer possible. But at the same time, she can’t turn her back on the opportunity to restore her faith to England. This dilemma rages within Joanna from beginning to end. Readers will sympathize with Joanna and what her decisions cost her personally in her desire to accomplish the greater good.

By basing this series on an unknown, rather than on events set at the court of Henry VIII, Bilyeau has crafted a riveting tale that is both unique and engaging. There are many, many novels about this time period, to the point where sometimes it’s difficult for me to pick up yet another version of the story that’s been told over and over again. That’s why The Chalice is so refreshing; the events that readers of historical fiction know so well are merely a backdrop for Joanna’s story. It’s all new and wondrous.

If you’re looking for a suspenseful series that is set during a fascinating time period with amazing historical detail, pick up The Chalice as soon as you can. While it’s not really necessary to read these books in order, I highly recommend that you do. Not only will you miss out on great character development, but you’ll miss a novel that’s likely to become one of your favorites. It’s with breathless anticipation (and a bit of a heavy heart) that I look forward to the conclusion of this wonderful series.

Other books by Nancy Bilyeau:

The Crown

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Comments

  1. I keep hearing good things about this book, and your review has convinced me to add all the books to my list so I can read them in order.

  2. I keep hearing good things about this book, and your review has convinced me to add all the books to my list so I can read them in order.

  3. I also thought it was a great book. I have a giveaway for a brand new hardcover from the publisher open until 4/10 – US only: http://wordsandpeace.com/2013/04/01/book-review-and-giveaway-the-chalice/

  4. I also thought it was a great book. I have a giveaway for a brand new hardcover from the publisher open until 4/10 – US only: http://wordsandpeace.com/2013/04/01/book-review-and-giveaway-the-chalice/

  5. I also read and loved the first, and have this one sitting next to me. I agree that the author makes her stories so engaging and urgent, and the characters are ones that feel like real people. Now that you’ve said that you loved this one, it’s moving higher up on the stack. I really enjoyed your review, as I will no doubt enjoy the book!

  6. I also read and loved the first, and have this one sitting next to me. I agree that the author makes her stories so engaging and urgent, and the characters are ones that feel like real people. Now that you’ve said that you loved this one, it’s moving higher up on the stack. I really enjoyed your review, as I will no doubt enjoy the book!

  7. I liked the Crown so very much. This is one to look forward to.

  8. I liked the Crown so very much. This is one to look forward to.

  9. Thank you for the review. I enjoy creating my own characters and mixing them with “real” people from the time period. I am happy that you enjoy this mix!

  10. Thank you for the review. I enjoy creating my own characters and mixing them with “real” people from the time period. I am happy that you enjoy this mix!

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