The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

Nancy Bilyeau has written a second historical fiction book, The Chalice, that is in a series involving the former nun Joanna Stafford. It is as gripping and spellbinding as The Crown (the first novel).

Here is a brief description of the book from the publisher:

IN 1538, ENGLAND is in the midst of bloody power struggles that threaten to tear the country apart. Aristocrat-turned-novice Joanna Stafford knows what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment when she is caught up in an international plot targeting the king. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII, as well as the future of Christendom, are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies. . .

With regard to suspense, The Chalice picks up where The Crown left off. Although Joanna still is trying to deal with the closing of her monastery and adjust to her new life in Dartford, she is forced to deal with more political intrigue. The intrigue centers around her as a prophetess on the fate of England. As she struggles with her new role as a prophetess, she has to duck and weave through the politics of the day.

Bilyeau does another fine job in developing the characters. She captures Joanna’s torment of being caught up in political events, but also slowly shows Joanna growing more confident in her abilities.

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