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Monday, March 4, 2013

READ THIS: THE CHALICE BY NANCY BILYEAU Our Coverage Sponsored by Maine Woolens

Maine Woolens is a weaver of blanket and throws located in Brunswick, Maine. We work primarily with natural fibers, like cottons and worsted wools and are committed to using renewable natural fibers from American growers whenever possible. We do piece dyeing and package dyeing in house and the combined experience of our excellent employees exceeds 300 years. Our wool and cotton blankets and throws are 100 percent machine washable, soft and luxurious to the touch, cozy warm and comfortably light. We have many styles to choose from. Our clients are very positive about our products and happy to support a Made in Maine, USA company. Visit our website at
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The Anglophiles of Whom You Know were thrilled to read The Chalice, which debuts tomorrow!

I absolutly love reading novels that are set in England during ancient times. When I saw this book, I knew it wouldn't take long for me to become completely enthralled. By the 3rd chapter, I couldn't put it down. With all the drama happening between the men in power and the church, the main character, a woman, is put to the test. I loved all the twists and turns Joanna had to take to help reveal the prophecy and save what she could. Without giving more away, all I can say is the author does a fantastic job at pulling the reader in. I can't wait to read more by Ms. Bilyeau. Because I had this book read so quickly, I had to tell all my friends about it. They seemed very intrigued and they couldn't wait to begin reading it. If you know of anyone looking for that next new book that they can't put down, I would recommend this book.

An ambitious second novel, "The Chalice" takes girl-sleuthing to a Medieval level. Nancy Bilyeau has created a heroine for our day, in a young lady, lately a postulant, bewildered by her uncanny ability to detect prophecy. Joanna Stafford, holds court here (she is also the heroine of "The Crown") as a young ex-nun, ousted from her safe life in the convent by the decrees of King Henry VIII. Her course is set via encounters with seers and necromancers. Not an easy life to lead, but Joanna withstands the turmoil and seems to thrive in the adventure her life has become. Historically researched, down to meals, phrases, and courtly mannerisms, this novel will enthrall you until the last page. It's not necessary to have read the first leg of Joanna Stafford's life, as it's a "drop-in", but by the time you finish this book, you'll want to know more about this young aristocrat and her milieu. The Reformation itself becomes alive in these pages, with the backstory, and some Cromwellian tidbits. For those of us who live for historical novels, here's a new one. Epic in scope, with shadowy bad guys drawn from the annals of Tudor intrigue, "The Chalice" paints a political and religious picture of the actual period. Mixed with the real, the fiction takes on breath, scope, and life. 

I throughly enjoyed this novel. In general, I do not usually pick up historical fiction in the bookstore. The Chalice has changed my mind and my opinion about this genre. The novel is full of suspense and the drama of the period is truly entertaining. The author pays careful attention to detail and paints a clear picture. You really think you are there with the characters. I honestly could not put the book down. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a entertaining read. If you don't usually read this type of book, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try it. You really will be glad you did!

The Chalice is Recommended by Whom You Know!


Nancy Bilyeau’s debut novel, The Crown, was shortlisted for the UK’s prestigious Ellis Peters Historical Dagger and garnered critical acclaim including O Magazine (“A juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy, and betrayal”), Entertainment Weekly (“The historical research shines”), PARADE (“A captivating heroine . . . will have you eagerly following every step of her quest”), Woman’s Day (“Part The Da Vinci Code, part The Other Boleyn Girl”), and much more. 

In THE CHALICE (On-sale March 5, 2013; $24.99 hardcover; 978-1-4767-0865-2; Touchstone Books), Bilyeau returns to the story of Joanna Stafford, a young aristocratic nun whose cloistered way of life came crashing down when King Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries. Joanna has already felt the wrath of the royal court, despaired as a prisoner in the Tower of London, and narrowly escaped death while at the mercy of the most powerful men of the era. Yet, with England in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross, she leaves her quiet country life and is drawn into a shadowy international plot targeting the King himself. 

As those around her face imprisonment and worse, Joanna soon realizes her part is more crucial than she had ever imagined. She must make a choice between those she cares for most and her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last. Repelled by violence, Joanna tries desperately to seize a future with a man who loves her. But she cannot escape the spreading darkness and, to defend the future of Christendom, agrees to serve the Holy Roman Emperor by leaving England and all she holds dear to seek the final, sinister piece of deadly prophecy—and the meaning of the chalice that lays at its center. 

Is it Joanna’s destiny to save the kingdom and her beloved faith—or to destroy them both? This fast-paced historical thriller not only tells an epic story of a young woman fighting against the most powerful men of her time, but also takes a provocative look at the religious conflicts of the Reformation and those who would use violence as a means to an end. 


Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Good Housekeeping; she is currently executive editor of DuJour magazine. A native of the Midwest, she graduated from the University of Michigan. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Visit her website at


On-sale March 5, 2013 

$24.99 hardcover 

ISBN 978-1-4767-0865-2 

Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster 

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