The Tapestry: A Novel

The Tapestry: A Novel

by Nancy Bilyeau
5.0 3

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The Tapestry: A Novel by Nancy Bilyeau

The next page-turner in the award-winning Joanna Stafford series takes place in the heart of the Tudor court, as she risks everything to defy the most powerful men of her era.

Henry VIII's Palace of Whitehall is the last place on earth Joanna Stafford wants to be. But a summons from the king cannot be refused.

After her priory was destroyed, Joanna, a young Dominican novice, vowed to live a quiet life, weaving tapestries and shunning dangerous conspiracies. That all changes when the king takes an interest in her tapestry talent.

With a ruthless monarch tiring of his fourth wife and amoral noblemen driven by hidden agendas, Joanna becomes entangled in Tudor court politics. Her close friend, Catherine Howard. is rumored to be the king's mistress, and Joanna is determined to protect her from becoming the king's next wife—and victim. All the while, Joanna tries to understand her feelings for the two men in her life: the constable who tried to save her and the friar she can't forget.

In a world of royal banquets, jousts, sea voyages and Tower Hill executions, Joanna must finally choose her future: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier.

The Tapestry is the final book in a Tudor trilogy that began in 2012 with The Crown, an Oprah magazine pick. Don't miss the adventures of one of the most unforgettable heroines in historical fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476756394
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 03/24/2015
Series: Joanna Stafford Series
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 65,804
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown and The Chalice, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyleRolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. She is currently the executive editor of Du Jour magazine. A native of the Midwest, she lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Visit her website at

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The Tapestry: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
booknerdDS More than 1 year ago
Copy received from author for an honest review My humble review: First, I LOVED “The Crown” the first book in the Joanna Stafford series.  This was my first introduction to Historical Fiction and I absolutely loved it and continued to read Historical Fiction because of “The Crown.” It is still, hands down, one of my favorites.  I have to bow my head down in shame because I did not read “The Chalice”-yet.  Which I’m sorry because I can tell by “The Tapestry” I missed out on many good plots.  When I saw “The Tapestry” I became obsessed with Joanna Stafford and I couldn’t wait to find out how Bilyeau developed her story.  I started “The Tapestry” with anticipation and excitement. Let me say, it does not disappoint. I LOVED “The Tapestry.”  It was an instant five star rating for me.  Why? First, I loved the ending. I’m a romantic at heart, the ending took me by surprise and I loved that Joanna finally had a happy ending.  (I personally hope that Bileyeau has more in store for her.)  So, yes I loved the ending. I loved Joanna. She is such a rich character.  A no longer nun, left without her Dominican order. When the story begins she is summoned by Henry VIII, yes! First, wow! She is invited to create a Tapistry, which she has a talent for doing.  Joanna is terrified that the King knows or will know that she played a hand in trying to displace him as king. She is terrified of his advisor more notably Cromwell. His presence is like a ghost.  So aside from the before mentioned, I loved how Bilyeau portrayed Henry VIII. He really is a fascinating character.  I learned little tidbits that I had not known before.  One being the sores on his legs. Second, when Joanna visits the King he is married to Anne of Cleaves but is also having an affair with Katherine Howard. I loved how the author introduced these subplots.  While Joanna is at court she is fearing for her life and rightly so.  Finally, I loved seeing the story unfold through Joanna’s eyes. I loved the first person point of view and I really enjoyed how she developed different relationships, most notably with the future queen Katherine Howard. My only grievance is what to look forward to from Bilyeau.  I hope that we see more of Joanna and I would love to see what other pieces of history she has to tell us about! My heartfelt and sincerest literary thanks to the author for not only allowing me to read this beautiful story but making it so wonderful!
wordsandpeace More than 1 year ago
With multiple intertwined threads and an unusual heroine, The Tapestry provides the reader with a unique view on the Tudor world. Art, politics, and the occult combine into a fascinating historical novel rich in suspense. What not to love? Having read and enjoyed a lot The Crown and The Chalice, I’m totally thrilled to be part of this tour and to present to you the third installment of the Joanna Staford series, as well as an interview with the author herself! If you are tired of some lengthy Tudor series where everything and everyone is too predictable, no fear with The Tapestry! With a unique main character, this historical novel is packed with fascinating information and irresistible twists and turns. Joanna Staford was a novice in Dartford. But her Dominican monastery did not survive the wrath of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell: it was closed two years before this book opens. She has been living a simple quasi-monastic life in the city of Dartford when she is summoned by no less than the King himself, to be the keeper of his wardrobe, that is also the manager of his tapestries. Henry seems to be interested in her talent at tapestry making as well. But as Joanna makes her way to Whitehall, she has the bad feeling someone is following her. When a page proposes to escort her, she really knows something doesn’t feel right. From then on, she is stuck in unknown woes and life threatening political intrigues that will even lead her to foreign countries where more dangers are lurking! Like a tapestry, this book is made up of multiple layers and threads, and it was absolutely fascinating to follow them all. With unexpected twists and turns, it felt like working on the back side of a tapestry: only at the end when the job is done, can you turn and see your work revealed. Only at the end will you have all the elements of this book come together. I really enjoyed indeed how all the themes were intertwined and keeping the reader in suspense. Let me highlight a few of the leads: the world of art, with tapestries and paintings - the painter Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497–1543) is quite present The Tudor political milieu, with its main characters: Henry VIII (described both typically with his crazy angry outbursts and as a weak man afraid of losing power), Cromwell (also pictured with weaknesses), Catherine Howard, Jane Rochford, Bishop Gardiner, Henry Howard, Norfolk, French ambassador Chapuys, and others The occult world quite linked to the royals at the time. We hear about Nostradamus, Paracelsus, Orobasa, and Cornelius Agrippa has a major key role And Joanna’s personal relationships: whom can she really trust in this dangerous milieu? All along the book, Joanna evolves and matures. Prevented by civil law from marrying former friar Edmund after she left, what will she do when she meets him again? Is their connection strong enough to decide to restart their life together? Along those lines, I enjoyed the way Nancy Bilyeau offered gentle reminders of the two previous books all along. I think this would make this book perfectly work as a standalone, although of course you will enjoy it even more if you’ve read the first two volumes. I would like to highlight that Catherine Howard, through Joanna’s friendship, is presented as both naïve and victim, not as the seductress I have met in some other books on the period.
SuperReaderChick More than 1 year ago
I was blessed enough to receive an ARC of this book to read and review. I loved the first two books in the trilogy (The Crown & The Chalice) and this final installment stayed true to form. Bilyeau weaves one hell of a story! She continues to give you a little bit here and a little bit there to keep you on the edge of your seat. I love the mystery and danger that always seems to find and follow Joanna Stafford. I also love the blend of historical events alongside the lives of the fictional characters. It really is written seamlessly. I was pleased at how Bilyeau chose to conclude the story and bring peace to her characters. I HIGHLY recommend this book, and her others, to anyone who loves a blend of history and mystery. Bilyeau will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat until the final chapter.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Nancy Bilyeau in her new book, “The Tapestry” Book Three in the Joanna Stafford series published by Touchstone brings us another adventure with Joanna Stafford. From the back cover: In the midst of England’s Reformation, a young novice will risk everything to defy the most powerful men of her era. Political murder. Sexual intrigue. In the court of Henry VIII, does Sister Joanna Stafford have a prayer? After her priory in Dartford is closed—collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII’s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church—Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King’s attention. Joanna is uncomfortable serving the King whom she has twice attempted to overthrow—unbeknownst to him. She fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. And her suspicions are confirmed when an assassin attempts to kill her moments after arriving at Whitehall. Struggling to stay ahead of her most formidable enemy yet, an unknown one, she becomes entangled in dangerous court politics. Her dear friend Catherine Howard is rumored to be one of the King’s mistresses. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, naïve Catherine from becoming the King’s next wife and possibly, victim. Set in a world of royal banquets and feasts, tournament jousts, ship voyages, and Tower Hill executions, this thrilling tale finds Joanna in her most dangerous situation yet, as she attempts to decide the life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier. Joanna must finally choose her fate. Joanna Stafford is back and this adventure is even more dangerous than the first. History, danger, mystery, action, adventure and thrills abound in “The Tapestry”. Get ready for a page-turning, thrill ride. Ms. Bilyeau gets us caught up in the story and the characters lives to the point that we actually hate to say goodbye to them when the book ends. It really feels as if Ms. Bilyeau transports back to the time of The English Reformation it feels that authentic. Joanna is still one of the most unique and personable characters and she is just a delight to read about. I liked this book very much and am hoping that Ms. Bilyeau will give us another adventure with Joanna. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Touchstone. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”