Review: The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

Description (from cover):

‘Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the 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.
While Joanna is in the Tower, the ruthless Bishop of Winchester forces her to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic–a crown so powerful, it may possess the ability to end the Reformation.
With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must decide who she can trust 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 thoughts:

Who would have ever thought that nuns could be so entertaining. This book completely floored me. It was not what I was expecting by any means. It is a historical fiction novel laced with suspense and kept me on the edge of my seat. Joanna is a strong character and the reader can really connect with her. This story takes place right after Henry VIII split from the Catholic Church and started to dissolute the religious houses of England. Joanna Stafford has come to Dartford Priory of her own free will and desire to serve in a religious capacity. Never did she realize that she would become a pawn of some the most powerful political figures of that time.
This was a fantastic read. Rich with historical detail and suspense that will keep you turning the page, it was exactly what I look for in a historical novel. Not really a fan of the Tudors quite so much anymore after reading a million Tudor themed books, but this one was set in the Tudor era, but did not focus so much on the actual Tudors, which is a relief. I love reading about a nun and the ways of a priory at that time period and the author did a lot of research.
This book, although it features a nun and priory, is not overly religious, which I appreciate. I highly encourage lovers of the Tudor era who are looking for something a little different from the normal Tudor books to pick this one up. It has murder, mystery, suspense, a hint of romance, and fantastic historical detail. If you haven’t read this book yet, I think it’s time to do so. In fact, I loved this one so much, I decided to forgo the books on my to-be-read list and read the second in this series, The Chalice.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  The Crown
Author:  Nancy Bilyeau
Series:  Joanna Stafford #1
Publisher:  Touchstone
Publication Date:  September 4, 2012
Pages:  448
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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