Tell us a story

LoveReading is thrilled to announce the launch of The Very Short Story Award 2019! If you think you have a story we'll love, click here to find out more and how to enter:

Find out more

The Crown

by Nancy Bilyeau

Debut Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Historical Fiction

LoveReading View on 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.

Sarah Broadhurst

The Crown Synopsis

London, May 1537. As those closest to the throne are locked in a fierce fight against those desperate to save England's monasteries from destruction, young Joanna Stafford faces a far more personal battle. When Joanna learns her cousin is about to be burned at the stake for rebelling against Henry VIII, she makes a decision that will change not only her life, but quite possibly the fate of a nation.


It will mean turning her back on everything she knows, for Joanna is a novice at Dartford Priory - and to save her family, she must break the sacred rule of enclosure. But running away is only the first transgression. From the Tower of London, to secret assignations and from Stonehenge to the royal court - Joanna becomes entangled with a secret whose deadly past stretches farther back than anyone had imagined.

As her mission draws a trail in blood from the last whispered words of a queen to a pattern of unnatural deaths in the royal lineage, Joanna must determine who to trust, and how far she's willing to go to protect her life, her family and everything she holds dear.

The Crown Press Reviews

'Fabulous debut thriller' inStyle 


A gripping treasure-hunt-like romp through one of the bloodiest periods in British history. GOOD HOUSEKEEPING


'Bilyeau's novel is a gripping debut and the perfect accompaniement to a cold, winter's night.'


'Bilyeau deftly weaves extensive historical detail throughout, but the real draw of this suspenseful novel is its juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy and betrayal.' O, The Oprah Magazine


'Strong character development, realistic historical detail, and an atmosphere of pervasive tension coupled to a fast-placed plot make it compulsively readable.' Booklist


This fast-paced debut delivers Tudor intrigue and mystical thrills in one satisfying package - and leaves room for a sequel. KIRKUS


'Will appeal to fans of Dan Brown and Philippa Gregory' Library Journal


'Nancy Bilyeau's polished, inventive debut has all the ingredients of the best historical fiction: a broad cast of characters, well-imagined settings, and vivid story-telling...In Joanna Stafford, Bilyeau has given us a memorable character who us prepared to risk her life to save what she must most values, while Stafford's desperate search for a lost religious relic will satisfy even the most ardent mystery fans' -- Deborah Harkness, Author Of A Discovery Of Witches


'The events of the period come to life in Nancy Bilyeau's dazzling and heart-wrenching novel. The Crown is is evocative, provocative, and full of intriguing characters - a gorgeously written novel that has mystery and history, pathos and depth. This is a stunning debut about a woman whose spirit shines through and deeply moves the reader' MJ Rose, international bestseller


'With a strong protagonist and some well-drawn characters, there are political intrigues, power struggles and deadly encounters in this novel of mystery and suspense.' CHOICE MAGAZINE

If you loved this, you might like these...

Dark Tracks
The Last Tudor
Dark Tracks
Order of Darkness

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781409135791
Publication date: 28/02/2013
Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781409135791
Publication date: 28th February 2013
Author: Nancy Bilyeau
Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 496 pages
Genres: Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Reading Groups,
Categories: Historical fiction,

About Nancy Bilyeau

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,   Author photo © Joshua Kessler

More About Nancy Bilyeau

More Books By Nancy Bilyeau

Cover for The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau
View All Books By Nancy Bilyeau

Share this book