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Friday, July 5, 2013


The Chalice

Second in a series featuring the intrepid nun Joanna. Set in Tudor England at a time of great religious strife and indecision.

I loved The Crown and was looking forward to getting into this one. It somehow did not have the impact that the first book had for me. This story set in 1538 shows Joanna now in the secular world, her convent like so many convents and monasteries dissolved, all their treasures taken over by the State. Joanna is trying to establish a tapestry business as a means of livelihood. This is something she is good at and she needs to earn her living. She also has the responsibility of a little boy - Arthur whom she intends to bring up.

This peaceful life is disrupted by a prophecy that involves Joanna. It is a dangerous one. One that involves the overthrow of the present King and establishing  Catholic rule in England. Being from a powerful family herself despite being a nun, Joanna is constantly thrown into contact with the aristocracy and there are many who are aware of how dangerous she can be to their own positions. This puts Joanna in grave danger particularly as she herself seems to ignore her own personal danger as against what she is destined to do.

The author describes not just the plot and period very well but also the details of the everyday living of its ordinary inhabitants. This is the part I liked as it brings life as it was in Tudor England to life. For me there was a somewhat sameness in the story of Joanna and maybe that was why it was not as exciting as the first book.

As a piece of historical fiction this was a good read though. 


  1. I am intrigued Mystica...Knowing your (limited) book selection, how do you chose a novel? The variety you review has me puzzled yet I have found some marvelous titles on your list! Thank you!
    (I'll bow to your knowledge regarding this one and will skip it.)

  2. I'm with you on this one; I really liked The Crown, but this one was just meh ... I never really felt a connection with the characters or the story.

  3. This sounds intriguing! So would you say this and the first one portray the period from the Catholic's point of view? I've read tons of books on Tudor England (esp. Henry & his wives) when I was much younger but would love to find some good historical fiction showing how it was for the Catholics.

  4. I've found this to be true in a few historical fiction 'series' so I usually stop at the first unless someone convinces me to read the second.

  5. I really enjoyed this one, I agree it wasn't quite as exciting but I loved all the detail.

  6. I've got this one to read for an upcoming review and I'm reading The Crown right now so I'll go straight from one into the next. Not sure how that will impact my appreciation of either book.