The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau
Touchstone Publishing | March 5, 2013 | 512p
Tour hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Twitter Hashtag: #TheChaliceVirtualTour
A while back, I reviewed a historical mystery/thriller called The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau. It was action packed and filled with great historical details and left us with a bit of cliffhanger. Now a year later, I've finally gotten my hands on the sequel! (Look at that cover, it's gorgeous!) In The Chalice, our heroine Joanna Stafford is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after the priory she was a novice nun at was disbanded. She and her former Sisters are feeling out of place living freely among the citizens of their town. The Reformation is still in full swing, and the Catholics of England are at their breaking point. After some mix-ups, Joanna finds herself in the midst of a plot to get rid of Henry VIII in favor of his Catholic dauther, Mary (because we all know how great that eventually would turn out). One of the most interesting parts of the book I thought was when Joanna, by accident, becomes a part of Anne of Cleves party entering England. Also, the way that the attempted assasination plot is actually carried out was a great turn. Joanna still really is a fascinating character. The title of 'former nun' leads for so many interesting characteristics and possibilities.
Just like the first book, The Chalice is full of great history, action, and wonderful writing. The English Reformation has a fresh new view through the eyes of someone who is not your typical key player. That being said, The Chalice relies heavily on your knowledge of what happened in The Crown. You would be greatly confused reading this as a stand alone book. I had to wrack by brain trying to remember events and people from the first book, as there was really nothing to help refresh your memory in this book. I was often confused because of this, but I can't say it was the book's fault. It took me awhile to get through the book, not because it was unreadable, but because there was so much information. I felt that the book could've been maybe 100 pages shorter. Overall though, The Chalice was a fun and heart-racing adventure!