Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

by:  Nancy Bilyeau
published by:  Touchstone
publish date:  January 10, 2012

When Joanna Stafford, a young novice, learns her cousin is about to be burned at the stake for rebelling against Henry VIII, she makes a decision that will change not only her life, but quite possibly the fate of a nation.

Joanna breaks the sacred rule of enclosure and runs away from Dartford Priory. But when Joanna and her father are arrested and sent to the Tower of London, she finds herself a pawn in a deadly power struggle. Those closest to the throne are locked in a fierce fight against those desperate to save England's monasteries from destruction.

Charged with a mission to find a hidden relic believed to possess a mystical power that has slain three Englishmen of royal blood in the last 300 years, Joanna and a troubled young friar, Brother Edmund, must seek answers across England. Once she learns the true secret of her quest, Joanna must finally determine who to trust, and how far she’s willing to go to protect her life, her family and everything she holds dear.

The Crown was one of those books that when I first heard about it I was like WHOOO It sounds Awesome!!  Then when I got it I was less than enthusiastic.  Historical Fiction, Nuns, Friars, sounded like something that would send me to sleep in a hurry.  I was definitely wrong.  My first impression was spot on.  I really liked it a lot.

Joanna is a young novice on her way to becoming a full nun when a series of events happen that led to her being sent to the Tower of London then sent back to her Priory with a mission to find a hidden relic.  She is sent back with two friars who know little of her mission, but must help her with it.  I've seen several reviews critical of the characters in this book particularly Joanna and Edmund and how willing they were to break their sacred vows.  I didn't see them as willing to break their vows, but as having no other options. 

I thought The Crown was exciting and interesting.  It seemed to be well researched.  I think fans of Dan Brown and Robert Browne will enjoy this one.  Great debut novel!

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