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Monday, May 25, 2015

My review of The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

About the book:

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 set in Tudor England 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 review:

This book is more like 4 1/2 stars. It reads like a "Medieval Mystery" (if there is such a genre) with the nun as the main sleuth. The tone of the book follows the other two in the series. I had the disadvantage of reading the first book last, which may have been why it took me longer than expected to finish. The writing is excellent and the author does a great job getting you into the character's head for the length of the novel. 

I had a firm sense of place and the setting enhanced the mystery aspect of the book. I liked how the author interspersed occasional memories into the novel to give you a better feel for some of Joanna's history. I love how it ended. If I hadn't already read the second book (I read it first) I would probably booking it to a store right now to get the second installment. All this to say, it was worth my time to read it and I enjoyed the authentic feel of the novel. The author includes resources she used to piece the historical facts together. She did a great job with it.

The Crown was published by Touchstone Books and released in 2012. You can buy it on Amazon, but do yourself a favor and start by reading it before the others.


Peggy West said...

I like the use of the word "authentic" in the review. Nancy Bilyeau's books on Joanna Stafford have caused such an interest in me about the closing/looting of the monasteries in the 16th century that I am reading a non-fiction (think it is called God's Traitors) to accompany fiction reading.

What a fine thing to do - to review the books you read. Hats off to the reviewer, too.

Michelle Sutton said...

Thanks for your comment. I am the reviewer. Glad you liked it.

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