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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: The Chalice

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
The Chalice
by Nancy Bilyeau

Plot Summary:

'The Chalice' is a historical 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 has ruthlessly smashed his country's allegiance to Rome. By 1538, the bloody power struggles between crown and cross threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last. The life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies. As she struggles to forge a life for herself in a country that rejects her faith, she must also decide if her future should be shared with a man--and if so, which of the two men who love her should be chosen.

Review:

Joanna Stafford's first adventure, in The Crown, read very authentically, with rich details, intrigue and mystery on every page.  The Chalice continues Joanna's story with a new mystery - one that is more personal to her which changes the tone of this book.  The mystery is still there, but the story felt much more focused on developing Joanna's character further - there were flashbacks into her past and more was seen of her relatives.  And I enjoyed this change in tone because I loved Joanna's strong, resilient nature and her resolute character that doesn't come from her doing everything perfectly but from learning from her mistakes and striving to do better.  The layers to her character that were just showing in The Crown were fleshed out more fully here as she struggles to understand the destiny that has been put upon her.

The plot of the story was very compelling, with the prophecy surrounding Joanna the focal point.  The mystery aspect lay in that and in trying to figure out who Joanna could trust.  And it seemed like every chapter ended with an exciting plot development or twist which made this such a page-turner.  And don't get me started on the romance in this book!  Seriously don't, I might cry.  There is a slight love triangle element to this story that tore me apart because I really couldn't pick between the two men - both were good men with fascinating depth and both had great chemistry with Joanna. And I really cared about the characters and I didn't want any of them to get hurt.  Oh futile hope.  Not only was the triangle intriguing but there were also some unexpected twists in how the relationships turned out.  I felt the romance aspect was very well done because I was so invested in the characters and they very much deserved a happy ending!

There were many great characters introduced in this book, especially Jacquard and Chapuys - both ambiguous, complex and such puzzles, while also introducing a greater historical scope to Henry VIII's actions.  This book takes a look at the complex, larger historical picture of the events of that time while also keeping the plot character-driven and all in a very engaging and readable writing style.

Even though this is a second installment for Joanna Stafford, this book reads very well on it's own and I so enjoyed the unfolding drama and the historical conflict in this story.  The resolution was maybe too quickly and easily tied up, but this novel is definitely worth the read for the roller coaster ride of emotions and the captivating plot.  And I'm so glad that there will be another book in this series, titled "The Covenant"!



I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review.  I was not compensated for this review.
Check out the other stops on this tour!

Amazon  Goodreads  Author's Website
Read my review of the first book The Crown

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17 comments:

  1. Ooh! This sounds GREAT! I love books like this.
    -Ashley (Closed the Cover)

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    1. Definitely one of my fave historical reads! I hope you get to check it out soon!

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  2. Great review! I'm glad to hear there is more character development; that's always important. And I don't like love triangles for the most part, but it sounds like this was well done!

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    1. I'm only over love triangles because I see it a lot, but it is really good in this book - and I think more realistic then in all the YA books I've read! Thank you for stopping by!

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  3. I remember seeing this on the TLC tours website, and wishing I could have joined the tour! It sounds brilliant, and now I want to read it any more thanks to your wonderful review =)

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    1. Aw, too bad you didn't get on the tour, because it is a really fab read! I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series!

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  4. Loved both of these, and looking forward to The Covenant. Great review!

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    1. Thank you! I thought your review of this book was great, I'm glad we both enjoyed it so much!

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  5. This sounds great! Not necessarily my usual kind of read, but really interesting... adding The Crown to my TBR right now!

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    1. Ooh awesome! It's great to try reading outside your usual genres sometimes. I just got a couple contemporary reads that I hope I will enjoy.

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    2. It's funny, I like historical and I like thriller but I just don't read books that are both. I actually read one recently that was present-day, but uncovering a conspiracy that goes back to the Tudors... that's usually as close as I get to "historical thriller."

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    3. That sounds really interesting! What's the book called?

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    4. The King's Deception, by Steve Berry. Here's my review: http://wp.me/p2ZSql-eK

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  6. I've been on the fence about picking this one up for ages now! I'm glad to see you loved it! And wait, is it just me or was this an FBF (Facepunched By Feels) book?? You know how I feel about those...!

    Great review as always :D

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    1. This is a definite recommend - lots of action and intrigue and really great writing. And there is some FBF, but I don't have to tell you that there will be support for all the emotions here! :D

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  7. Wow, sounds like the love triangle really got to you! That's unusual ... it often seems that one person is the clear choice and, as a reader, I'm yelling at the main character to make the right decision. :)

    Thanks for being on the tour!

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    1. Yes, these characters were so well fleshed out that it was really hard to choose for me! :D Thank you for commenting!

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