The Tapestry Blog Tour and Review

01_The Tapestry
ABookGeek is happy to be one of the hosts for The Tapestry blog tour today.

The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau
North America & UK Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Touchstone Publishing
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 390
Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Three
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review

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In THE CROWN, Sister Joanna Stafford searched for a Dark Ages relic that could save her priory from Cromwell?s advancing army of destruction. In THE CHALICE, Joanna was drawn into an international conspiracy against Henry VIII himself as she struggled to learn the truth behind a prophecy of his destruction.

Now, in THE TAPESTRY, Joanna Stafford finally chooses her own destiny.

After her Dominican priory in Dartford closed forever-collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII?s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church-Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King?s attention.

Joanna is uncomfortable serving the King, and fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. Her suspicions are confirmed when an assassin attempts to kill her moments after arriving at Whitehall.

Struggling to stay ahead of her most formidable enemy yet, an unknown one, she becomes entangled in dangerous court politics. Her dear friend Catherine Howard is rumored to be the King?s mistress. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, na?ve Catherine from becoming the King?s next wife and, possibly, victim.

Set in a world of royal banquets and feasts, tournament jousts, ship voyages, and Tower Hill executions, this thrilling tale finds Joanna in her most dangerous situation yet, as she attempts to decide the life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier. Joanna Stafford must finally choose.

My Take:

In the third book in the Joanna Stafford series, The Tapestry, Joanna finally seems to have a better idea what she wants to do with her life. She wants to weave tapestries and raise Arthur, her cousin's son. A quiet, peaceful life full of work and family and prayer is her goal, but things never seem to quite go her way.

Joanna is summoned by the king himself to commission a tapestry. Being summoned by Henry VIII  could be a dangerous thing even in the best of circumstances given his well known temper. Unfortunately Joanna's circumstances couldn't really be considered the best given her past participation in conspiracies against the king. Even though she knows he is unaware of her participation and she failed at her assignment, Joanna is still very uneasy about the summons. As well she should be as it turns out.  Joanna obeys the summons and as soon as she arrives, she is attacked by an unknown man posing as a royal page.

The main mystery is figuring out exactly who among the many possible contenders is the one trying to kill Joanna. So, Joanna tries to navigate the suspicious, uncertain, and dangerous twists and turns of life at Henry VIII's court without making the king angry at her or giving an assassin the chance to kill her.

The reader is treated to much more than just King Henry VIII and his notorious temper and all the maneuvering amongst the members of the court. Through Joanna's conversations with the court painter Hans Holbein and her subsequent travels, the reader learns more about the Protestant Reformation and its consequences throughout Europe, not just England. I really enjoyed getting to see the bigger picture rather than just the English perspective. I also liked all the conspiracies - so many people plotting things and maneuvering family members and anyone they can to push forward their own agenda. It is all quite sordid and complicated. I admit that I enjoyed the process of Joanna gradually working through all the candidates to find the person who was trying to kill her.

As with the other two books in the series, The Crown and The Chalice, I thoroughly enjoyed reading  The Tapestry. I liked that Joanna really seemed to have learned a lot about herself and the world and was better able to navigate the dangers that faced her. She was no longer just following someone else's orders, but was making her own decisions.

I think that anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction about the Tudors, the Protestant Reformation and/or the religious wars of the time and historical fiction in general would enjoy The Tapestry very much.This is one of those books that will appeal to mystery/thriller fans as well, I think. This is a book that I will be recommending to my book club and friends.  Joanna Stafford is a great character and  I really enjoyed getting to follow her as she grew, became wiser about the world and the people around her. I feel like The Tapestry is a good way to wrap up a trilogy, but I am a bit curious about what would happen to her next. I have to add that I loved the covers of all three of the books -- they are just so striking.

Praise for The Tapestry

"Illuminated by Bilyeau's vivid prose, minor players of Tudor England emerge from the shadows." ~Kirkus Reviews

"In THE TAPESTRY, Nancy Bilyeau brilliantly captures both the white-hot religious passions and the brutal politics of Tudor England. It is a rare book that does both so well." ~ Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife's Tale

"In spite of murderous plots, volatile kings, and a divided heart, Joanna Stafford manages to stay true to her noble character. Fans of Ken Follett will devour Nancy Bilyeau?s novel of political treachery and courageous love, set amid the endlessly fascinating Tudor landscape." ~ Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway's Girl

"These aren't your mother's nuns! Nancy Bilyeau has done it again, giving us a compelling and wonderfully realized portrait of Tudor life in all its complexity and wonder. A nun, a tapestry, a page-turning tale of suspense: this is historical mystery at its finest." ~ Bruce Holsinger, author of A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire

"A supremely deft, clever and pacy entertainment. This is Nancy Bilyeau's most thrilling?and enlightening?novel in the Joanna Stafford series yet." ~Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist and The Damned

"A master of atmosphere, Nancy Bilyeau imbues her novel with a sense of dread and oppression lurking behind the royal glamour; in her descriptions and characterizations... Bilyeau breathes life into history." ~Laura Andersen, author of The Boleyn King

Pre-Order/Buy The Tapestry

Barnes & Noble

Nancy BilyeauAbout the Author

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay "Zenobia" placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and "Loving Marys" reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. THE TAPESTRY will be released in March 2015.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information or to sign up for Nancy's Newsletter please visit her official website.

The Tapestry Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Review & Interview at Words and Peace

Tuesday, March 17
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Review at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, March 18
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, March 19
Review at A Book Geek
Review & Interview at Tea at Trianon
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, March 20
Review at Impressions in Ink

Monday, March 23
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, March 24
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, March 25
Review at Luxury Reading
Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, March 26
Review at She Reads Novels

Friday, March 27
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Monday, March 30
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, March 31
Review at The True Book Addict
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, April 1
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, April 2
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, April 3
Review at Layered Pages
Review & Guest Post at Always With a Book

The Tapestry  photo 94573e40-91c5-476c-9983-e6723e6c0482.png


  1. Thank you for the review. And I may pick up the story of Joanna again. :)

  2. I was following this tour because I hope to read this book -- The Chalice was great! I didn't expect to find a chance to win a copy; thanks for participating in the tour and featuring this great opportunity! Cheers, Kara S


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