Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau (Review & Giveaway)

The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau
ISBN: 978-1476756370
Touchstone Publishing
Published: March 24, 2015
UK Publication Date: April 24, 2015
Hardcover, 390 pages

Reviewed by Sandra

Is it possible that this third book in the Joanna Stafford series of fantastic historical fiction is the best yet? If you have read The Chalice and The Crown you may wonder how it could get any better, but it has.

Joanna Stafford, former Dominican novice, is pursuing a quiet life of weaving tapestries for a living in her beloved Dartford, England circa 1540 when a summons arrives from her distant cousin, King Henry VIII to appear at court. Henry offers her a commission to weave a custom tapestry for him, as well as become Tapestry Mistress, ie, oversee, maintain, and add to Henry’s 200-odd tapestry collection. When she finds out that the face of her friend, Catherine Howard is to feature in the tapestry, Joanna has a sinking feeling that 19-year-old Catherine is the 57-year-old King’s next conquest/wife. Enter Thomas Culpepper and the rest is history, as they say. This novel traces the events that swirl around this couple, set against a backdrop of religious intolerance in all its forms, political intrigue, and social unrest.

Almost immediately unknown sinister forces begin to surround Joanna; she is thrown into court intrigue;  attempts are made on her life as events outlined in the first two books begin to catch up with her. Are Henry and Cromwell involved? It is someone who knows the palace and Joanna’s whereabouts. She must weave her way through treachery, deceit and the machinations of the court to finally find her heart’s desire, strong woman that she is.

Her former love interest/protector, Geoffrey Scovill , Dartford constable, re-appears in this book. Together they travel to Brussels to research tapestries for the King, but in reality are on the search for “Brother” Edmund, Joanna’s ex-fiance, who has disappeared. So mysteries and love interests both royal and common are at the forefront, as are Joanna’s attempts to save Catherine and Thomas.

It’s obvious that the author has done meticulous research, as usual. And that she is well versed in the Tudor era. Apart from Henry VIII, other historical figures appear throughout the novel, ie. Cromwell, Anne of Cleves (Henry’s fourth wife), Thomas Cranmore, Archbishop of Canterbury, Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary).  I learned about the Henry’s Act of Six Articles forbidding persons who had taken vows of chastity in a religious order from every marrying, on pain of death. I loved the list of characters (useful to readers unfamiliar with the era) as well as the extensive bibliography.

Look for royal intrigue, murder, friendship, love, treachery, religious/political  turmoil in this best of the best historical fiction.

Note: This book is rated G.

Praise for the Tapestry

"Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy, and this third book will not fail to thrill readers. Warmly recommended!" - Bestselling author Alison Weir

“Illuminated by Bilyeau’s vivid prose, minor players of Tudor England emerge from the shadows.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In THE TAPESTRY, Nancy Bilyeau brilliantly captures both the white-hot religious passions and the brutal politics of Tudor England. It is a rare book that does both so well.” —Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife’s Tale

“In spite of murderous plots, volatile kings, and a divided heart, Joanna Stafford manages to stay true to her noble character. Fans of Ken Follett will devour Nancy Bilyeau’s novel of political treachery and courageous love, set amid the endlessly fascinating Tudor landscape.” —Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl

“These aren’t your mother’s nuns! Nancy Bilyeau has done it again, giving us a compelling and wonderfully realized portrait of Tudor life in all its complexity and wonder. A nun, a tapestry, a page-turning tale of suspense: this is historical mystery at its finest.” —Bruce Holsinger, author of A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire

“A supremely deft, clever and pacy entertainment. This is Nancy Bilyeau’s most thrilling—and enlightening—novel in the Joanna Stafford series yet.” —Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist and The Damned

“A master of atmosphere, Nancy Bilyeau imbues her novel with a sense of dread and oppression lurking behind the royal glamour; in her descriptions and characterizations… Bilyeau breathes life into history.” —Laura Andersen, author of The Boleyn King

Pre-Order/Buy The Tapestry

About the Author

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay “Zenobia” placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and “Loving Marys” reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. THE TAPESTRY will be released in March 2015.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information or to sign up for Nancy’s Newsletter please visit her official website.

And now for the giveaway!

To enter to win one of three signed hardcover copies of The Tapestry, please complete the giveaway form below.


Giveaway starts on March 16th at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 3rd.
Giveaway is open to residents in North American and the UK.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 4th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ with any questions.

Direct Link:

The Tapestry

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher through NetGalley for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Share this:


Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your feedback.

Visit Us Today

Visit Us Today
iRead: getting your book in the hands of readers
Back To Top
Copyright © 2009-2017 Laura Fabiani Library of Clean Reads . Designed by OddThemes OddThemes