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Nancy Bilyeau's acclaimed first novel, THE CROWN, was shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Dagger Award for historical fiction and dubbed 'the year's most impressive debut' by the judging panel. It took five years to research and write. Nancy, a magazine editor, lives in New York City with her family. Find out more about Nancy and her lifelong passion for Tudor history via her website, www.nancybilyeau.com.
Author photo © Joshua Kessler
The Blue is an enthralling story of art and science, focusing on the competitive nature of the porcelain industry in the 18th century and the obsessive quest for excellence. Feisty protagonist Genevieve Planché is English-born but fiercely proud of her family’s Huguenot origins. A talented artist, she dreams of being a world-famous painter but is being ignored by the male-dominated art world. When she meets the charming and mysterious Sir Gabriel Courtenay, he promises to make her dreams come true if she can just do one ‘simple task’ for him – to discover the secrets of a highly sought-after shade of blue. Set against a vivid background of wartime England and France, The Blue provides a powerful blend of fact and fiction – switching between London’s Spitalfields, industrial Derby and France’s Sèvres, highlighting the politics, religious intolerance and social divide of that time period. This is an entertaining combination of history, adventure and mystery, filled with passion and secrets, deception and espionage, as Genevieve begins to question where her loyalties really lie. The Blue is a perfect choice for historical thriller fans, with its flowing prose, well-researched background, rich characters, vivid descriptive writing and escalating tension. This is certainly a novel to savour, ponder and enjoy. I loved it!
Second in this compelling and highly readable Tudor thriller series following the 16th century adventures of (now cast out) nun Joanna Stafford. Treason, conspiracies and a dangerous prophecy draw Joanna back from the quiet life she had made for herself after being cast out of Dartford Priory - but she isn’t prepared for the gravity of the situation she finds herself in or the responsibility she now holds. Nancy Bilyeau has followed up her impressive debut with an accomplished historical thriller perfect for fans of C. J. Sansom, Philippa Gregory and S. J. Parris. Click here to see the first book in the series, The Crown.
March 2013 Debut of the Month. Shortlisted for the 2012 CWA Ellis Peters Award. Who would have thought a murder mystery set in 1537 and having a young nun as the central character would be so compelling and readable? The nun in question, Joanna Stafford, must find a legendary crown in order to save her father and preserve the Catholic faith from Cromwell’s ruthless terror. Mixing in real people and places into this tale of murder, blood and betrayal really makes the book come alive and fans of Hilary Mantel should definitely put it on their book lists. Click here to see the second book in the series, The Chalice.
After her priory in Dartford is closed-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 whom she has twice attempted to overthrow-unbeknownst to him. She fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. And 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 one of the King's mistresses. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, naive 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 must finally choose her fate.
Winner of the Best Historical Mystery novel at the RT Book Reviews Awards. A curse to kill a king, a fight to save a nation. Follow young Joanna Stafford right into the dark heart of King Henry VIII's court in this stunning Tudor thriller. England, 1538. The nation is reeling after the ruthless dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII. Cast out of Dartford Priory, Joanna Stafford - feisty, courageous, but scarred by her recent encounter with rebellion at court - is trying to live a quiet life with her five-year-old charge, Arthur. But family connections draw her dangerously close to a treasonous plot and, repelled by violence and the whispered conspiracies around her, Joanna seeks a life with a man who loves her. But, no matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape the spreading darkness of her destiny. She must make a choice between those she cares for most, and taking her part in a mysterious prophecy foretold by three compelling seers. Joanna embarks upon a testing journey, and, as she deciphers the meaning at the core of the prophecy, she learns that the fate of a king and the freedom of a nation rest in her hands.