Review: The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

Description (from cover):

‘In the midst of England’s Reformation, a young novice will risk everything to defy the most powerful men of her era.
In 1538, England’s bloody power struggle between crown and cross threatens to tear the country apart. Novice Joanna Stafford has tasted the wrath of the royal court, discovered what lies within the king’s torture rooms, and escaped death at the hands of those desperate to possess the power of an ancient relic.
Even with all that she has experienced, the quiet life is not for Joanna. Despite the possibilities of arrest and imprisonment, she becomes caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting Henry VIII himself. as the power plays turn vicious, Joanna realizes her role is more critical than she’d ever imagined. She must choose between those she loves most and assuming her part in a prophecy foretold by three seers. Repelled by violence, Joanna seizes a future with a man who loves her. But no matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape the spreading darkness of her destiny.
To learn the final, sinister piece of the prophecy, she flees across Europe with a corrupt spy sent by Spain. As she completes the puzzle in the dungeon of a twelfth-century Belgian fortress, Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands–hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies…’

My thoughts:

While I really enjoyed this book’s predecessor, The Crown, the one was just okay. Don’t get me wrong, this book is well written and has suspense, romance, a hint of mystery, it just didn’t work for me like the first book in this series did. I really enjoy Joanna’s character and can’t wait to see where the author takes her next, but the first book was the book that really intrigued me and made me like this series. The second was just mediocre and needed some work and seemed quite jumbled together at times. This one felt like it was all over the place, from the past to the current setting, it was confusing at times and hard to keep up with.
Joanna has adapted to her life outside the priory. She has started weaving her own tapestries on her own weaving loom and has found someone she can spend the rest of her life with. She has come a long way since being a novice in a priory to having to return to the world of chaos with the religious reformation taking place in England. Her heart remains in being a nun, but the world around her makes her have to adjust to a world where religion takes a lesser importance than what she is used to. I love how the author makes Joanna struggle within herself to find out who she is and makes Joanna seem like an approachable and conceivable character.
I had high hopes for this book and to be honest I was a little disappointed with the overall storyline. I hope and pray that the author takes the series to the brilliance that the first book showed with the next book and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Joanna with her spying and her personal life. This series has the greatest potential and I hope that the author uses her strong characters and historical detail to make the next book something stellar. A good read, just not what I was expecting after the first book being so great.

Overall Rating: 3

Title:  The Chalice
Author:  Nancy Bilyeau
Series:  Joanna Stafford #2
Publisher:  Touchstone
Publication Date:  March 5, 2013
Pages:  496
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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