The Tapestry A Novel Synopsis
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.
The Tapestry A Novel Press Reviews
Nancy Bilyeau's The Tapestry continues her excellent incursion into the turbulent and high-stakes world of the Tudor Reformation in England. It was a time when principle and faith had to do battle with arbitrary power and personal fear to keep surviving. The narrative voice draws us into the story from the first page and drives us forward to the end.What is most striking about the book is how it cleverly intertwines the history and political intrigue in the court of Henry VIII with an account of an intensely personal drama and romance. A vivid story, well and clearly told, which will be enjoyable for a wide variety of readers. -- Aly Monroe The Chalice offers a fresh, dynamic look into Tudor England's most powerful, volatile personalities: Henry VIII, the Duke of Norfolk, Stephen Gardiner, and Bloody Mary Tudor. Heroine and former nun Joanna Stafford is beautiful, bold and in lethal danger. Bilyeau writes compellingly of people and places that demand your attention and don't let you go even after the last exciting page. -- Karen Harper, author of Mistress of Mourning The Chalice offers a fresh, dynamic look into Tudor England's most powerful, volatile personalities: Henry VIII, the Duke of Norfolk, Stephen Gardiner, and Bloody Mary Tudor. Heroine and former nun Joanna Stafford is beautiful, bold and in lethal danger. Bilyeau writes compellingly of people and places that demand your attention and don't let you go even after the last exciting page. -- Karen Harper, author of Mistress of Mourning An exciting and satisfying novel of historical suspense that cements Nancy Bilyeau as one of the genre's rising stars. The indominable Joanna Stafford is back with a cast of powerful and fascinating characters and a memorable story that is gripping while you are reading and haunting after you are done. Bravo! The Chalice is a fabulous read. -- M.J. Rose, author of The Reincarnationist An exciting and satisfying novel of historical suspense that cements Nancy Bilyeau as one of the genre's rising stars. The indominable Joanna Stafford is back with a cast of powerful and fascinating characters and a memorable story that is gripping while you are reading and haunting after you are done. Bravo! The Chalice is a fabulous read. -- M.J. Rose, author of The Reincarnationist A gripping, tightly plotted mystery, with a beguiling heroine at its heart, that vividly conjures up the ambiguity and danger of Reformation England. Bilyeau's deftness of touch and complete control over her complex material make for a truly exciting and compelling read. -- Elizabeth Fremantle, author of Queen's Gambit A compelling and pacey time machine to the sixteenth century. -- Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist Bilyeau paints a moving portrait of Catholicism during the Reformation and of reclusive, spiritual people adjusting to the world outside the cloister. This intriguing and suspenseful historical novel pairs well with C. J. Sansom's Dissolution (2003) and has the insightful feminine perspective of Brenda Rickman Vantrease's The Heretic's Wife (2010). * Booklist * I loved the story, the characters and the rich detail of the novel. . . . So much emotion and drama, and surprise twists for even the most hard-to-please mystery fans! -- DuJour Magazine [A] layered book of historical suspense. * Kirkus Reviews * English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau's richly detailed sequel to The Crown. -- Parade.com The novel is riveting, and provides fascinating insight into the lives of displaced nuns and priests during the tumultuous Tudor period. Bilyeau creates fully realized characters, with complex actions and emotions, driving the machinations of these historic personages. * RT Book Reviews, (Top Pick) * Praise for The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau: Bilyeau sends her plucky former novice back into the intrigue-laden court of Henry VIII. * Entertainment Weekly * These aren't your mother's nuns! Nancy Bilyeau has done it again, giving us a compelling and wonderfully realized portrait of Tudor life in all its complexity and wonder. A nun, a tapestry, a page-turning tale of suspense: this is historical mystery at its finest. -- Bruce Holsinger, author of A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire In spite of murderous plots, volatile kings, and a divided heart, Joanna Stafford manages to stay true to her noble character. Fans of Ken Follett will devour Nancy Bilyeau's novel of political treachery and courageous love, set amid the endlessly fascinating Tudor landscape. -- Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway's Girl In The Tapestry, Nancy Bilyeau brilliantly captures both the white-hot religious passions and the brutal politics of Tudor England. It is a rare book that does both so well. -- Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife's Tale A master of atmosphere, Nancy Bilyeau imbues her novel with the sense of dread and oppression lurking behind the royal glamour; in her descriptions and characterizations . . . Bilyeau breathes life into history. -- Laura Andersen, author of The Boleyn King The Tapestry takes its history seriously, but that doesn't stop it from being a supremely deft, clever and pacy entertainment. This is Nancy Bilyeau's most thrilling - and enlightening - novel in the Joanna Stafford series yet. -- Andrew Pyper, International Thriller Writers Award winner of The Demonologist and The Damned A rip-roaring Tudor adventure from Nancy Bilyeau! Novice nun turned tapestry weaver Joanna Stafford returns to the court of Henry VIII. She's that great rarity of historical fiction: a fiercely independent woman who is still firmly of her time. A mystery as richly woven as any of Joanna's tapestries. -- Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy, and this third book will not fail to thrill readers. Warmly recommended! -- Alison Weir, author of The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I In Joanna Stafford, Bilyeau has given us a memorable character who is prepared to risk her life to save what she most values. -- Deborah Harkness