Friday, May 24, 2013

The Crown

This book was a historical mystery novel, entertaining and suspenseful.  It follows Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun in 1537 England.  She finds out a favorite cousin has been condemned to be burned at the stake, on orders of King Henry VIII.  She breaks the enclosure vow to see her cousin die, to give her a familiar and loving face before she dies.  While at Smithfield, she sees her father at the last minute throw some gunpowder on the flames to make for a speedy and less horrific death.  She is arrested along with her father in The Tower for interfering.  As she is also of royal blood, her uncle being Edward Stafford and third Duke of Buckingham.  Buckingham had been killed for plotting for King Henry's throne, so the Stafford name was no longer popular or safe.  While in The Tower, she discovers that her father has been tortured by Bishop Gardiner.  In order to stay safe and save her father, she is ordered back to Dartford Priory to resume her novice duties.  While there, she is given the task of finding a sacred relic of King Athelstan- it had the ability to end the Reformation that Cromwell was assisting in.

From Dartford Priory to Malmesbury Abbey, Joanna along with Brother Edmund who is also employed by Bishop Gardiner, must hurry and find the crown before Cromwell does.  They must do so quietly so no one at the abbey knows.  Many abbeys and sanctuaries were being closed down all around them, their riches emptied into the royal treasury and the nuns left without a home.  Time is of the essence as well as discretion.  The relic involves the Black Prince, Richard the Lionhearted and Katherine of Aragon's first husband, Arthur.  The book is full of suspense and mystery as the abbess dies and murders happen within the abbey walls.

I enjoyed this book because it involved a time period I much enjoy reading about, but another angle.  It was interesting to read from the angle of an abbey that was soon to be suppressed during the Reformation of King Henry VIII's time, and also to have it be a mystery at the same time.  It was easy to read, interesting and I didn't guess the culprit in the end.

I also want to share a few other blog sites that have helped me find good books coming out.,  and  this one written by a favorite author of mine, C.W. Gortner.

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