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Historical Fiction Review – The Crown

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau


Review by Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty)



Well…I am joining in the chorus to sing the praises of, The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau. It is in my opinion a first rate historical mystery as well as a wonderful historical fiction novel.  Now those who know me know I rarely read anything that is remotely connected with the Tudor era, it has been done to death.  But several friends said: “It is good! I know you’ll like it!” As I trust their taste, I thought why not?

Sister Joanna Stafford second cousin to King Henry VIII is a novice at the Priory of Dartford.  She has run away from the Priory, to London, to be present at her Cousin Margaret’s execution by burning.  Margaret has been convicted as rebel, for her part in the Pilgrimage of Grace.  Joanna’s motivation is one of honest compassion, so that her cousin and her dearest friend should not die alone.   She is unprepared for what she sees at the execution and in a resulting scuffle she is arrested and taken to the tower. The Stafford’s are the family, of the disgraced and also executed, second Duke of Buckingham.   A family that has a claim to the throne, this is equal, if not better than that of the Tudors.  She thinks she can explain the reasons she is there and will be released, to go back to the priory and take her punishment and resume her calling to become a nun.

But powerful, dangerous forces are at work, the Dissolution of the Monasteries has begun.   Sister Joanna has become the perfect pawn in the power struggle between the Kings counselors.  And there is something a powerful relic, the crown of Athelstan that many want, and Joanna is the corrupt Bishop Gardiner’s best hope of obtaining it for his purposes.  She agrees to look for it, not for herself but for another’s whose life depends on it.

This is an excellent mystery, and it deals very well with the fear the permeated people of the Catholic faith, and the pain of watching their religion slowly disappearing.  How much more so for those who have chosen to serve God and their faith.  Life in a cloister during these uncertain times was difficult.  I was swept up in this well written and well researched novel. I was up all night reading this. Ms Bilyeau is absolutely on my writer to watch list, and I am excited to see what is next.

5 Stars

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3 Responses to “Historical Fiction Review – The Crown”

  1. Bonnie (LoveNE) , says:

    Thanks again Jerelyn for giving us a look at some new authors! I always have to bow to your 5 stars and try this book!

  2. Deb B. says:

    Nice review — one more for the WL!

  3. Brenna B. (demiducky25) says:

    Sounds like a good book, added it to my WL! 🙂

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