This 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.
Joanna Stafford and her fellow religious brothers and sisters attempt to make a new life for themselves following Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries and convents. But clues from seers and prophecies suggest that Joanna has an instrumental role in stopping the excesses of the king. She is a reluctant participant in an expanding conspiracy — having already spent time in the Tower, she understands the consequences of real, or imagined, action against the king. As she threads her way through the web of conspiracy, Joanna is assisted by two men with feelings for her. (TOUCHSTONE, Mar., 512 pp., $24.99)