Sunday, September 29, 2013

Nancy Bilyeau Historical Fiction Giveaway

I'd like to give away one of my books in this fun historical-fiction hop!

I'm writing a suspense trilogy set in the 16th century, published by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster in North America and Orion Books in the United Kingdom. The fictional protagonist is Joanna Stafford, a daughter of an English aristocrat and Spanish lady-in-waiting who is drawn to the spiritual life and becomes a novice at the only order of Dominican nuns in England, just as the religious orders of England face a violent destruction. Each novel tells a suspenseful tale, with the backdrop of the harrowing Dissolution of the Monasteries-- from a point of view rarely seen in fiction.

The Crown takes place in 1537 and 1538, when Henry VIII's break with Rome throws hundreds of monasteries and convents into turmoil. To save her father and her way of life from destruction, Joanna is forced to find a mysterious relic but then must decide who can be trusted with its powers.

The Chalice covers 1538 to early 1540, when Joanna along with thousands of other men and women  expelled from their orders are struggling to find a place for themselves. In this book, a traumatized Joanna discovers she is part of a prophecy about the fate of the kingdom, and she must decide between her conscience and a violent act that could bring back her beloved way of life.

The Covenant, which plunges Joanna into the court of Henry VIII during one of his most lethal years, 1540, will come out in 2014. I'm finishing it now. :)

I will share a few reviews of the first two books:

The Crown:

“Bilyeau deftly weaves extensive historical research throughout, but the real draw of this suspenseful novel is its juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy, and betrayal.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

“An engrossing thriller…[the] extensive historical research shines.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Bilyeau weaves her breathtaking story though a string of events to a pleasing conclusion while giving the reader a more thorough understanding of a complicated bit of history. Historical fiction as it should be.” – Florida Times-Union

The Chalice:
"English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau's richly detailed sequel to The Crown." -- Parade

“Bilyeau continues from her first novel the subtle, complex development of Joanna’s character and combines that with a fast-paced, unexpected plot to hold the reader’s interest on every page . . . history and supernatural mysticism combine in this compelling thriller.” -- Historical Novel Society

“The novel is riveting, and provides fascinating insight into the lives of displaced nuns and priests during the tumultuous Tudor period. Bilyeau creates fully realized characters, with complex actions and emotions, driving the machinations of these historic personages.” -- RT Book Reviews (Top Pick))

For this giveaway, I will send a signed paperback of The Crown or a signed hardcover of The Chalice to anyone in North America. To enter, see below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Nun Who Challenged Henry VIII

Author Judith Arnopp is running a Tudor blog pageant, and asked me if I wanted to participate. I wrote a post about Sister Elizabeth Barton, a Benedictine nun who took on Henry VIII and paid the ultimate price.

She worked as a servant until, after recovering from a serious illness, she experienced visions so startling that all the churchmen up to the Archbishop of Canterbury proclaimed then genuine. Her life bears some resemblance to Joan of Arc's a century earlier. Because she was a threat to the king, Sister Elizabeth, the "Holy Maid of Kent," became a nonperson in the Tudor era. Most papers destroyed. All the chroniclers who wrote about her later in the century were Protestant. I have tried to restore to her some of the prominence she held in the dangerous 1530s, in my novels and in my blogging.

Please read the full post on Sister Elizabeth Barton here..