Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Chalice Blog Tour and Review

The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau
review copy provided by Touchstone via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In the next novel from Nancy Bilyeau after her acclaimed debut The Crown, novice Joanna Stafford plunges into an even more dangerous conspiracy as she comes up against some of the most powerful men of her era.
In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last.
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 lays at the center of these deadly prophecies…

My Take:
Even though I have not yet read The Crown, I very much enjoyed reading its sequel, The Chalice. Even without reading the first book, I had no trouble following the continuing story of  Joanna Stafford and the many intrigues, betrayals and deceptions of Henry VIII's court. There are things that happened in the previous book that I was ignorant of, but the book does a good job of filling in the important gaps so I didn't feel completely lost. I think I was completely hooked by the time I finished reading the first chapter. I absolutely loved the mystical aspects to the novel including the prophecies of Elizabeth Barton. I was a bit surprised at how much prophecy propelled the plot of the book -- but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It gives an interesting perspective to historical events.

One of the indicators for me of a really good historical novel is how many times I consult Google about a character in the book. I lost track of how many times I stopped to look up more information about various historical figures. I thought that Bilyeau did a great job of interweaving historical figures into the story and bringing them to life in an exciting way and giving an explanation for some of their actions.

I really liked the way the conflict of the Reformation was explained with such detail. Even though I have studied the historical aspects of the Reformation, The Chalice was able to bring the effects of it into a more personal realm with its examination of how the dissolution of the monasteries affected Joanna and the other former nuns and priests and monks. I found it interesting to read about the choices the former nuns made regarding how they would live after they were forced out of their monasteries and had to live on their own.

I thought Joanna Stafford seemed a little bit naive, pretty sheltered and far too trusting. I thought she made some bad decisions and kept thinking that being from such a prominent family, she should have known better -- there were far too many intrigues, betrayals and deceptions within her own family.  Someone should have told her what was what. Despite her naivete, she is an intelligent, strong-willed young woman who stands firm in her beliefs.

I can and will wholeheartedly recommend The Chalice to my friends. If you like historical fiction at all, the Tudors, Henry VIII,  and the Reformation I would definitely recommend The Chalice. I will be reading The Crown as soon as I can and then re-reading The Chalice. I would also be excited if there were another novel about Joanna Stafford. There are still a few things I want to know.

About the Author

Nancy BilyeauNancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. Her latest position is features editor of Du Jour magazine. A native of the Midwest, she graduated from the University of Michigan. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Connect with Nancy Bilyeau:  Website | Facebook | Twitter

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, February 26
Review at She Reads Novels
Wednesday, February 27
Review at The Wormhole
Thursday, February 28
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, March 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Monday, March 4
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, March 5
Review at The Broke and the Bookish
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Thursday, March 7
Review at Turning the Pages
Monday, March 11
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, March 12
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, March 13
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, March 14
Review at Let Them Read Books
Friday, March 15
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Monday, March 18
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, March 19
Review at Loyalty Binds Me
Review at Impressions in Ink
Wednesday, March 20
Review, Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Libraria
Thursday, March 21
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Friday, March 22
Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Monday, March 25
Review at The Novel Life
Review at Devourer of Books
Tuesday, March 26
Review at Historical Tapestry & Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Wednesday, March 27
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, March 28
Review at Layered Pages
Friday, March 29
Interview at Layered Pages
Monday, April 1
Review at Words and Peace
Tuesday, April 2
Giveaway at Words and Peace
Wednesday, April 3
Review & Giveaway at Always with a Book
Thursday, April 4
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, April 5
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Monday, April 8
Review at Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, April 9
Review at One Book at a Time
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, April 10
Review at Jenny Loves to Read
Thursday, April 11
Interview at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Friday, April 12
Review, Guest Post & Giveaway at Drey’s Library
Monday, April 15
Review, Interview & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch
Tuesday, April 16
Review & Giveaway at Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, April 17
Review at The True Book Addict
Review & Giveaway at Library of Clean Reads
Thursday, April 18
Interview & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Monday, April 22
Review at Book Drunkard
Tuesday, April 23
Review at A Book Geek
Wednesday, April 24
Review & Giveaway at Review from Here
Thursday, April 25
Review at Historical Novel Review & Great Historicals
Friday, April 26
Review at Enchanted by Josephine
Guest Post & Giveaway at On the Tudor Trail
Monday, April 29
Review & Giveaway at Enchanted by Josephine
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book
Tuesday, April 30
Review at Tea at Trianon
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Wednesday, May 1
Interview at Writing the Renaissance
Thursday, May 2
Review at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books
Friday, May 3
Interview & Giveaway at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books

I received this book from the author or publisher for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.

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