The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau
(Joanna Stafford)

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An astonishing debut in historical fiction, hailed as “part The Da Vinci Code, part The Other Boleyn Girl,” (Woman’s Day), The Crown follows one nun’s dangerous quest to find an ancient relic during Cromwell’s reign of terror.

Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London.

While Joanna is in the Tower, the ruthless Bishop of Winchester forces her to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may possess the ability to end the Reformation.

With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must decide who she can trust so that she may save herself, her family, and her sacred way of life. This provocative story melds heart-stopping suspense with historical detail and brings to life the poignant dramas of women and men at a fascinating and critical moment in England’s past.

About Nancy Bilyeau

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Nancy Bilyeau is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Visit
Published January 10, 2012 by Touchstone. 417 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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A young noblewoman, Joanna Stafford, is brought by her father to Dartford Priory, where she enters the novitiate.

Jan 10 2012 | Read Full Review of The Crown (Joanna Stafford)


He has proven himself a violent person when he had her father tortured on the rack so as to persuade Joanna to undertake the task of finding the crown.

Jan 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Crown (Joanna Stafford)

Entertainment Weekly

In her debut, The Crown, Bilyeau — a former EW staffer — delivers an engrossing thriller about a 16th-century Dominican novice caught up in royal intrigue.

Jan 11 2012 | Read Full Review of The Crown (Joanna Stafford)

Reviewing the Evidence

While never ignoring the failures, both spiritual and political, of the hierarchy of the Catholic church, the book points up the simple faith and charity of the majority of those the king chose to dispossess and the devastating short-term effect that decision was to have on the ordinary people of...

| Read Full Review of The Crown (Joanna Stafford)

Open Salon

Forced to leave her priory more than once as she searches for the missing relic, Sister Joanna has to make choices about her faith and her allegiances, as the conspiracy leaves her questioning who she can trust.

Dec 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Crown (Joanna Stafford)

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