Saturday, December 19, 2015

THE TAPESTRY by Nancy Bilyeau

Nancy Bilyeau

            The Tapestry is Bilyeau’s final installment in her Joanna Stafford trilogy. The first book, The Crown, was published in 2012; the second, The Chalice, in 2013. When I began reading The Tapestry, published in 2015, I found that I had forgotten a great deal of the trilogy that took place in these prior books.

            Joanna Stafford had been a Dominican novice at the priory in Dartford before it was closed by her cousin, King Henry VIII. She subsequently remained in Dartford, intent on living a quiet life weaving tapestries.

            Her quiet existence was cut short, however, when the king summoned her to Whitehall Palace. While she was at Whitehall, the king appointed Joanna to be “the permanent Tapestry Mistress of the court, to oversee, maintain, and add to our collection, which is the finest in all of Christendom.” (p. 124).

While at Whitehall, Joanna discovered that someone was trying to kill her – but who and why? Her friend, Constable Geoffrey Scovill, helped to protect her and to discover who was behind the attempts on Joanna’s life.

            The Tapestry is a work of historical fiction. Bilyeau introduces us to some interesting historical figures, it is a decent plot, and the writing is good. However, the book did not “grab” me. It is possible that I would have appreciated this book much more if I had reread the first two installments in the trilogy prior to reading it.

But, I was also left wondering about the book’s historical accuracy. It is a personal pet peeve, but in general, I dislike historical fiction with low historicity. Overall, however, I am glad that I read this book.


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