Friday, March 27, 2015

The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau

The next page-turner in the award-winning Joanna Stafford series takes place in the heart of the Tudor court, as the gutsy former novice risks everything to defy the most powerful men of her era.

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, na├»ve 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. 

Hardcover, 400 pages

Published March 24th 2015 by Touchstone 
arc - netgalley
****1/2

The third and final chapter in the Joanna Stafford Series, yes you need to read The Crown and The Chalice first.  In saying that you can read as a stand alone as the author does a great job on filling in the past.  But it's so much better right from the beginning.  Trust me you won't be disappointed!

The Tapestry is a fitting conclusion to this wonderful series, which I am sad to see end.  The author has created some wonderful characters here, especially Joanna. After enduring so much in the previous books Joanna is enjoying life in Dartford that is, until summoned to Whitehall Palace at the command of King Henry VIII.  So begins this wonderful book.

Woven around the Tudor court, Anne of Cleaves, Catherine Howard, Thomas Culpepper and other notable historical figures making this book a very engaging read.  With so many books on the marketing focusing on Tudor England,  The Tapestry was a nice change of pace.  The storyline was original and breathed a different and unique spin to historical events.  With so many layers to this book the author was able to keep my attention all the way to the end.

I really enjoy Nancy Bilyeau's writing, it's very easy to get lost in her books, her vast knowledge of this time period was quite evident.  I was able to visualize the country and lifestyle, court protocol and so much more. I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and a good mystery.

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