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The Chalice

(Joanna Stafford #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,740 ratings  ·  269 reviews
It was a time of fear. It was a time of prophecy. It was a time for one woman to show a courage she never knew she had...
Winner of the Best Historical Mystery Award from the RT Reviews, 'The Chalice' is a thriller told from the point of view of a young woman caught in the crosswinds of time: She has pledged to become a Dominican nun in an England ruled by Henry VIII, who h
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  1,740 ratings  ·  269 reviews

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Jenny Q
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars. Having really enjoyed Nancy Bilyeau's debut novel The Crown, I couldn't wait to see what was next for former novice-turned-spy Joanna Stafford. When The Chalice begins, Joanna is struggling a bit in transitioning into secular life now that the monasteries and priories have been dissolved and Henry VIII has effectively eliminated the role of the Catholic church. She's determined to build a life in the village of Dartford, close to her beloved priory, and close to the two men in her lif ...more
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I admit it has been a while since I picked up a Tudor novel. It is such a popular period and there has been such a slew of new titles in the last few years that I suffered a little bit of burn out. This being the case, you can probably understand my initial trepidation at taking on Nancy Bilyeau's The Chalice.

Having finished the book I look back at laugh at my skepticism. Bilyeau's writing is wonderf
I've had a hard time categorizing this series. The Crown was nominally a historical mystery, which is why I had picked it up, but ended up being more historical suspense. Now The Chalice drops mystery altogether, focusing instead on a prophecy for Sister Joanna that throws her into danger. So maybe historical suspense is the most appropriate label, at least so far. The fact that it is difficult to categorize is one of the reasons I'm enjoying the series.

The story focuses on a Dominican novice d
Christine Roberts
The Chalice” by Nancy Bilyeau begins at what we assume is the end, the prologue telling us exactly where protagonist Joanna Stafford will be at the end of this long and arduous journey. I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway, and immediately borrowed “The Crown”, Bilyeau’s first Joanna Stafford novel, from my local library to familiarize myself with the setting and characters. I enjoyed “The Crown”, and was very eagerly anticipating the arrival of my copy of “The Chalice”. ...more
Judith Starkston
Bilyeau’s first book, The Crown, brought us the determined but naïve Joanna Stafford, Dominican nun and daughter of a disgraced aristocratic family, during Henry VIII’s reign. In The Chalice Henry’s dissolution of the monasteries has sent a more experienced but no less stubborn Joanna out into the secular world where she’s trying to build a quiet life as a weaver of tapestries. A mysterious prophecy and those who would like to use it to further their power and political desires drag her unwittin ...more
Erica Hafferkamp
May 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
I honestly don't understand all the positive reviews for this book. I found the protagonist to be completely unbelievable - the least "nun-y" nun ever (one minute bemoaning the destruction of her beloved religion, the next throwing herself at two different men, the next praying again...come on). In fact, I didn't find any part of the book to be believable, especially not the characters or their motivations. I understand that this is supposed to be more of a historical fantasy than straight histo ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books, you know the one? It's the one that very early on you stop for a sec and just sit in awe, marveling at the talent of this author. You can just tell with the flow of the words, with the vivid pictures forming in your mind, that this is going to be one of those books that will stick with you long after you are finished. Not just because of the wonderful story (because this is a WONDERFUL story), but also because of the amount of work you know went into it. The amount of ...more
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Hugely disappointing. The first book was terrific - engaging, suspenseful, a good mystery in search of the crown. I was hoping for this book to continue in the same vein, another adventure in search of a relic, but it did not. This book centers much more on the romance, court drama, and some rather implausible prophecies involving Joanna - none of which I particularly cared about. Very little actually happens, but it takes a lot of pages to get there. This is definitely a big step down from the ...more
This is the second historical novel to feature Joanna Stafford, niece of the Duke of Buckingham and formerly a novice at Dartford Priory. The first was The Crown, in which Joanna was forced into the service of the powerful Bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner in order to save the life of her father.

I don’t think it’s essential to have read that book first in order to fully appreciate this one, as the story stands alone, even though many of the historical figures we encounter appear in both. I
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Having gone straight from The Crown into The Chalice, I'm remarkably impressed by how largely consistent the two books are in quality, and I had a very similar reaction to this installment, which is to say largely positive but lacking that spark that really makes it a me book. In The Chalice, the stakes for Joanna Stafford are raised as it becomes more about her and less about Catholicism in general. Readers who loved The Crown will likely find that they are similarly thrilled by The Chalice.

The Lit Bitch
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is solid. It has a well constructed unique plot with an equally unique heroine. Joanna is a well constructed character, I simply need to know what happens next! I want to know if she finds happiness, love, and if she ever gets to have a nice quiet life in the country with her tapestry loom!

This was an exciting read! The Tudor period is such a stormy and unsettling time in history and what could be a better setting for a religious historic thriller? The time period Bilyeau chose is so
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a really good series. Looking forward to #3, The Tapestry.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, nookbooks
4 APR 2015 - this second entry in the series is better than the debut. Sister Joanna is a terrific character. Moving on to #3.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
It's no secret the Tudor era is not a favorite of mine but Nancy Bilyeau makes me sing a different tune: first, with her fabulous novel The Crown and again this year with the sequel, The Chalice.

Returning to the 16th century and her ex-nun Joanna Stafford, this novel delves more into Joanna's life and past as well as the drama Henry VIII's decisions were wrecking on the country. As with The Crown, Bilyeau opens her novel with another fantastic first sentence -- When preparing for martyrdom on th
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-bookshelf
The Chalice is the second book in the Crown series by historical fiction author Nancy Bilyeau that takes place during the reign of King Henry VIII. While I haven't yet read the first book in the series I can say that The Chalice can be read successfully as a standalone but it was so good I'm definitely going to have to borrow The Crown to get more of the author's writing.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Chalice. Historical Fiction is one of my favourite genres so it was a real treat to be invit
AudioBook Review- MP3 Download
It is rare that a mystery is as balanced with layered characters, rich in historical detail, and provides a mystery that does not overwhelm the story, but enhances and provides a reader or listener with the need to read more. Nancy Bilyeau has managed to craft a story that is trans- portative and informative, with the character of Joanna being so well-constructed that she nearly emerges from the pages.

While the mystery is more a religious one, and the well-known a
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For a thick novel of almost 500 pages, I enjoyed this more than most. Usually I groan about the excessive length because there always seem to be things that drag the plot along, but this story kept my attention for the entire story. I didn't notice any unnecessary details. I found it quite inspiring as well. Even though this is a secular novel, the heroine's love of the scriptures was quite touching. I loved some of the scenes where she used them to bless others, like at an execution of friends. ...more
Holly P
Nancy Bilyeau's debut novel The Crown was one of my top reads of last year so I was excited to get my hands on the follow up The Chalice. I was not disappointed. Here we see former novice nun Joanna Stafford try to embrace her life outside the confines of her demolished Dartford Priory. Although she seeks to live a normal life, Joanna is a woman who trouble just seems to follow as her past comes back to haunt her. A prophecy which was partially revealed to Joanna when she was just a scared 16 ye ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
"The Chalice" continues the story of Joanna Stafford, who at 27 years old has already seen too much death at the hands of Henry VIII. Tudor England is a dangerous place to be if you find yourself on the wrong side of the King and Joanna always just steps away from getting into trouble. The stakes are even higher in this book than in the first book starring Joanna, called "The Crown." Fear not, "The Chalice" is very much a stand alone book so you will be able to jump right in with this book even ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Capturing the passion of a prominent period with such accuracy and exquisite detail, as to bring this dazzlingly dangerous era to life.

Powerfully evocative this arresting novel by highly acclaimed historical writer Nancy Bilyeau, author of the impressive debut ‘The Crown’ has once again triumphed. Fervent intensity, heated rivalry and shocking drama are merged together to create an unputdownable book that is addictive and deeply beguiling. The accuracy of well-researched historical detail is st
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Author Nancy Bilyeau that takes us back to the reign of King Henry VIII in her novel The Chalice, book two in her historical fiction series, The Crown. Young novice Joanna Stafford, a distant relative of King Henry VIII becomes embroiled in a conspiracy that makes her an unwilling pawn when prophets and politicians face off against each other in this beautifully told historical work. Joanna is intelligent and strong-willed with a highly developed sense of duty and honor that take her on a journe ...more
4.5 stars

I found Nancy Bilyeau's debut novel The Crown completely riveting and I've been waiting somewhat impatiently for the sequel to learn what becomes of Dominican novice Joanna Stafford of the out-of-favour Stafford family. The Chalice is without doubt worth the wait.

Set during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, a time of great religious upheaval, Joanna is central to a prophecy with profound bearing on the English Reformation and Christendom. Tudor England gets my heart racing and to re
Stephanie Kline
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I could not possibly imagine a better sequel to "The Crown," which I read a little over a year ago and absolutely fell in love with. This novel picks up with Joanna Stafford, the young novice at Dartford Priory and heroine of the last novel, and it follows her on an even more suspenseful, thrilling, and exciting adventure as a plot against King Henry VIII unfolds. I absolutely love the theme of prophecy in this book, and Nancy Bilyeau did an incredible job tying certain characters together (thou ...more
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Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it

I loved the first Joanna Stafford book, The Crown, and I think this one is even better! Bilyeau delivers an entertaining mix of action, romance, and historical detail that made for a VERY enjoyable snow day read today. Though the prophecy-centered storyline would not normally be to my taste (I'm not usually up for too much supernatural content in my historical fiction), Bilyeau handled it in such a way that the story still felt very plausible throughout. Joanna is likable and strong without bein
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I don't think I have made any secret of the fact that I am a bit Tudored out and so I am being very selective about the books that I read that are set during the Tudor period of British history. When I saw that this book was coming out though, there was no question for me as to whether I would read this or not. Bilyeau's debut novel, The Chalice, which features a novice nun named Joanne Stafford who comes from a disgraced noble family was a good read for me last year but I did have some issues w ...more
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book very much at first but felt that in the last hundred pages that the author just wanted to get 'er done. The prologue foreshadows events that one would expect to be the closing scene of the novel but this was not the case and in fact the foreshadowing seem to indicate that there could be major character death creating a sense of foreboding. However, when the significant event occurred more than a hundred pages from the end of the novel it was all very vague and felt glossed ov ...more
This is the Sequel to The Crown, the first book of the series. It is 1538 and deposed nun Joanna Stafford wishes only to return to her closed convent and former way of life but thanks to the politics of Henry VIII and Cromwell, her only venue is to find some way to restore the Catholic faith.
Still she is afraid. Somehow she is the object of prophecies, therefore comes to the attention of The Duke Of Norfolk and still others more powerful. In the meantime she falls in love with former friar, Edmu
Katrina McCollough
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love the historical context of this novel, I definitely agree with my mom though who read the book before me, I don't get enough of an idea of Joanna's motivations. I do understand the base intentions of everything but a lot of the past events reference, I knew nothing about, so it was a little empty to me on that aspect but I read the book in two days so I was definitely wrapped up in the story. Great book thank you so much for the chance to read it! ...more
Jessica Cutting
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The only thing about this book that ruined it was the ridiculous love story. She went for the wrong guy and then it didn't work out and she didn't even end up with the one she should have at the end, very frustrating. Otherwise excellent, ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Chalice/ Nancy Bilyeau - 4 stars 1 7 Jul 31, 2017 08:30AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 24, 2015 09:03AM  
giveaway! march 18 - march 31 2 10 Jun 15, 2013 06:58AM  

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Nancy is a writer and magazine editor who has worked as an editor at "Rolling Stone," "InStyle," and "Good Housekeeping."

Her new historical novel is "Dreamland," set in 1911 New York City and telling the story of a rebellious heiress who escapes from her over protective family to experience the delights of Coney IIsland--but there are dangers too. The novel has received starred reviews from Publi

Other books in the series

Joanna Stafford (3 books)
  • The Crown (Joanna Stafford, #1)
  • The Tapestry (Joanna Stafford, #3)

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