Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau (CLOSED)

The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau
March 2013
Format: Hardcover, 512 pages
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

First line: When preparing for martyrdom on the night of December 28, 1538, I did not think of those I love.

About the book: In the next novel from Nancy Bilyeau after her acclaimed debut The Crown, novice Joanna Stafford plunges into an even more dangerous conspiracy as she comes up against some of the most powerful men of her era.

In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that 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.

Joanna realizes 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…

My thoughts: This is my first time reading Nancy Bilyeau. I haven't had a chance yet to read her debut novel, The Crown, which is the first in the Crown series, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of this book. A historical fiction book filled with suspense and intrigue set during Tudor England - definitely my type of book!

The Chalice takes place at the time when King Henry VIII has basically dissolved all the monasteries and priories and the Catholic Church is no more - all so he could end his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Joanna, a former novice, is struggling to adapt to secular life. She is pulled into a scandal that puts her at the center of a plot involving King Henry's monarchy. 

From the first page, I was pulled into this story and had a hard time putting it down. I've read quite a few books about King Henry VIII's reign, but never one comes from the point of view of those directly impacted by the Reformation. I admit that I know very little about the effects of this, but reading The Chalice gave me great insight. This was a dark time for English history and the detail that Nancy Bilyeau gives us is just fascinating - she clearly has done her research and crafted a well-developed tale. Even the characters - those real and made up - are all multi-dimensional. Joanna is someone that you just can't stop thinking about - she is smart and cunning when she needs to be, while at the same time caring and kind to those around her.

As I mentioned earlier, I did not read the first book in this series, The Crown, but I never felt that I was missing anything while reading this book. There were times that events from the first book were referred to, but not in a way as to spoil what happens, I don't think (I will have to see if this is correct after I read the first book!). If anything, after reading The Chalice, I am even more anxious to read the previous book to learn more about Joanna and hope that this is not the last time we see Joanna!

About the author: Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. Her latest position is features editor of Du Jour 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.

For more information, please visit Nancy Bilyeau's website. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.  

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtag: #TheChaliceVirtualTour).

Giveaway Information (CLOSED):
Thanks to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours I have one copy of The Chalice to give away to my readers. 

  • Open to US only
  • Must include email address to enter 
* Mandatory entry - Tell me why you want to read this book. 

 * Extra entry #1 - become a follower of Always With a Book - via email, twitter or bloglovin'. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under and how).  

* Extra entry #2 - please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting, pinning onto Pinterest or posting this giveaway on Facebook (each way you share gets you 1 more entry).  

All entries can be in one email - but you MUST include email address or no entry

Good Luck!!!


  1. This historical sounds fascinating and wonderful. many thanks for this chance. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. I would be interested in this compelling novel. Thanks for your review and giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. and if your readers want to double their chance of winning, they can enter the giveaway for the same book on my blog:
    it is really a great book, just as Kristin said

  4. I read the previous novel and would love to continue on. thanks.

  5. I'd love to learn more about the Reformation! This sounds like an excellent book.

    I'll post this great giveaway in my blog's sidebar. Thanks for hosting this, Kristin.


  6. Suspenseful, Tudor-era book? Count men in!!

    email: lafra86 at gmail dot com (I follow via this email, as well)


  7. Tudor era this one's for me.I am an email follower Twitter follower@rhondareads.Will tweet.

  8. Tudor era this one's for me.I am an email follower Twitter follower@rhondareads.Will tweet.

  9. I enjoy books of this era, and especially of young strong women in this timeframe. Thanks for the giveaway.
    -email subscriber
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  10. It sounds wonderful. I've been wanting to read The Crown and this one sounds even better. I think my wife and I would both enjoy it.

    I follow your blog by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

    I also tweeted about the giveaway:

    Wasn't able to pin it though. There are no pinnable images in this post.


  11. I have read the Crown and would love to read the Chalice. Please enter me.

  12. I would love the opportunity to read Bilueau's look at the changing life of nuns in Tudor Society.

    Follow on blogloving

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. Because I love historical fiction and this looks great!
    I follow via email : mestith at gmail dot com

  14. i love historical fictions, therefore, i must read The Chalice!!

    follow via bloglovin' as Cyn209........

    shared on

    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love interacting with other book lovers and appreciate any thoughts or feedback! If you read a book after seeing my review, please let me know. Come back and leave me a link to your review so I can read it. Thank you!!!

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