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Thursday, April 4, 2013

THE CROWN by NANCY BILYEAU



The Crown

This was a lucky find. Looking out for both the books by this author came across this one. Will have to wait for my next visit to Melbourne to get to The Chalice as its still on order.

The year is 1537 and a Dominican nun is set an almost impossible task. To find a crown a legendary one that will save the Catholic faith from the Reformation sweeping England. Our heroine is from an aristocratic family. One whose family has already displeased not just the Sovereign but also those of the Reformation specially Cromwell. 

Joanna leaves the seclusion of her priory to be present at the execution of a cousin who is burnt at the stake. For this act alone she and her father are accused of treason and sent to the Tower. She is released by the all powerful Bishop of Winchester, who holds her father as hostage only on the promise that she will find the crown supposed to be hidden in her priory. Taken back to her home she finds herself surrounded by the nuns some of whom are very antagonistic at her return. Joanna does not know who are her friends and who are her enemies even amongst her sister nuns  

One dead body after another is discovered, seemingly unrelated but as Joanna only knows definitely connected to others who are also on the search for the Crown.  With each death, Joanna feels that she herself is under threat and with that the life of her father is at stake. Secrets of the Crown reveal the implications of the death of the Black Prince, Richard the Lionheart and Katharine of Aragon's first husband Arthur. 

Threats to destroy all priories in England hang over Joanna and particularly the fate of her own priory. Most religious are now thrown out on the streets to beg or return home to their families and a whole way of religious life is under threat. 

The story also highlights the helpless position of women not just physically but also financially when it came to matters of estate and protection and how frail they were in this time.

A beautiful story of a courageous women set in a period of history which is tumultuous. 

10 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I bet my mother would love this book!

jenclair said...

This sounds interesting. I'm reading some nonfiction right now about Walsingham, Elizabeth's spymaster which is more about the persecution of Catholics than about Walsingham himself. While Bloody Mary get the worst publicity for persecuting Protestants, Henry and Elizabeth piled up the Catholic bodies.

jenclair said...

I should do a better job of editing my comments. Bloody Mary gets, not get.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I've read a couple of books about this era - so glad I didn't live in those times!! I'm glad it was a good read!

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

I really enjoyed The Crown, too. It's a great start to what is turning into a wonderful series. I hope you're able to read The Chalice soon!

Nise' said...

I've read great reviews for The Chalice.

Laura Fabiani said...

My review partner read this and loved it. She's now reading the second book.

Lisa said...

Oh, I have this one and just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Sounds like I'm really going to enjoy it and I have The Chalice already to follow it up with. Hope you can get a hold of that one soon.

Teddyree said...

I really enjoyed this one too and The Chalice is a fantastic follow up!

Darlene said...

I'm so glad you liked this one. So did I! I hope you get a chance to read The Chalice soon as well.