Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Freebie: The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

Congratulations to Nomi Hurwitz, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Hystera by Leora Skolkin-Smith.

This week's giveaway is The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau.  You've already heard from Nancy earlier this week when she dropped in to talk about her "first time."  Now, you have the chance to read The Crown for yourself and find out why her third-grade teacher was like the Nostradamus of the literary world when she taped a sign to the classroom wall which read, "Have You Heard of Nancy Bilyeau, the Famous Writer?"

I have The Crown on my Kindle and am looking forward to reading it soon.  I mean, who could pass up murder, political intrigue, religious fanaticism, sex, and nuns?  (Perhaps it was inappropriate to put those last two things in the same sentence, and for that I apologize.)  The Crown is set in 1537 and, according to Library Journal, will appeal to fans of Dan Brown and Philippa Gregory.  Here's a bit of the plot summary from the publisher:
Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the sacred 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. The ruthless Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, takes terrifying steps to force Joanna to agree to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may hold the ability to end the Reformation. Accompanied by two monks, Joanna returns home to Dartford Priory and searches in secret for this long-lost piece of history worn by the Saxon King Athelstan in 937 during the historic battle that first united Britain. But Dartford Priory has become a dangerous place, and when more than one dead body is uncovered, Joanna departs with a sensitive young monk, Brother Edmund, to search elsewhere for the legendary crown. From royal castles with tapestry-filled rooms to Stonehenge to Malmesbury Abbey, the final resting place of King Athelstan, Joanna and Brother Edmund must hurry to find the crown if they want to keep Joanna’s father alive.

O, The Oprah Magazine had this to say about the novel: "Bilyeau deftly weaves extensive historical detail throughout, but the real draw of this suspenseful novel is its juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy, and betrayal."  It sounds like the perfect book for a mid-winter read.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of The Crown, all you have to do is answer this question:

What's the name of Bilyeau's ancestor who fled to the New World  in 1661 to escape religious persecution in France and later built the first stone house on Staten Island?  (You can find the answer by visiting the author's website.)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on  Feb. 2--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Feb. 3.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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