Nancy Bilyeau is building a solid series with her second book centered around Joanna Stafford, a novice who is forced to build a new life for herself after the dissolution of Dartford Priory. While the first book was very good, The Chalice is brimming with even more intrigue and insight into the clash of religion and state during the tumultuous reign of Henry VIII.
Bilyeau is able to bring the great struggle to life through her creation of conflicted characters trying to maintain their principles and beliefs in a time that is at best confused and at worst at odds with the wish of her heroine to live a simple life of devotion. The author’s scholarship is evident in the vivid detail and entwined plot lines of the story.
This last book has left me even more interested to see what will become of Joanna Stafford as she follows a tenuous path through the upheaval of her personal life in the political landscape.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Peterson Seidle
Layered Pages Review Team Member