A Book Review on Catholicmom.com

I’m honored that Sister Margaret Kerry, for forty years a daughter of St. Paul, reviewed my trilogy of novels on Catholicmom. I “met” her on Twitter. Sister Margaret proclaims the gospel in all sorts of ways, writing books and conducting workshops on media literacy. She’s great on Twitter! I’m often struck by how many wonderful people you can get to know on social media.

To learn more, go here.

Guest Posting on the Nun Blogger

I’m honored that Sister Anne of the Daughters of St. Paul asked me to guest post on her website. We “met” on twitter because Sister Anne wanted her followers to know about my books, which are an alternative view of Tudor England to Hilary Mantel’s in Wolf Hall.

She wrote:

“A few weeks ago, I mentioned the TV series “Wolf Hall” and its inaccurate presentation of St Thomas More, recommending a series of novels set in the same time frame that offer a very different (and more true to life) perspective. Today NunBlog is honored to welcome author Nancy Bilyeau, Twitter’s @TudorScribe, as a guest blogger”:

To read the post, go here.




The Mother of Anne Boleyn

Now that Wolf Hall is on Broadway and on PBS, a great many people will be talking about not only Thomas Cromwell but also Henry VIII, his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, his daughter, the Princess Mary, and of course his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

In my novels I take the opposite side of the Reformation from Hilary Mantel–my protagonist is a Dominican novice. But I also in my research have found many surprises in the religious choices of people who lived in the 16th century. Including the mother of Anne Boleyn.

To read my post, go here: http://nancybilyeau.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-lonely-death-of-elizabeth-boleyn.html

Supremacy and Survival: My Book Review

I’m a tremendous fan of Stephanie Mann’s. I have my own copy of Supremacy and Survival, her book about the English Reformation and the English Catholic martyrs.

Stephanie reviewed my novel The Tapestry, and here is just a snippet:

“Throughout this trilogy, Bilyeau provides excellent character studies of the historical figures from Henry VIII, so sad at the end, through the Princess Mary and of course Stephen Gardiner, the bishop of Winchester. She also demonstrates the effects the English Reformation was having on the common people, with whom Joanna lives in Dartford. They are experiencing–and will continue to experience–the changes in religion after the break from Rome…”

To read my blog post on the review, and the review itself, go here.



Writing a Novel About Nuns

When I decided to write a mystery set in Tudor England, it took me a while to decide who my main character should be. A queen or princess? No! It’s been done and done and done. An ordinary woman? Perhaps, but….what about a nun? I started to get very excited as I thought about the possibilities.


Henry VIII famously broke with Rome and dissolved the monasteries. But what does it mean to “dissolve” a religious institution going back a century? I spent the next five years researching monastic life in late medieval England. It wasn’t easy. There are a hundred books about Anne Boleyn. But the nuns and monks and friars were largely forgotten.

I didn’t give up. I kept reading and digging and talking to experts. The real-life priory that I set my novels in was the only Dominican Order for nuns in England, located in Dartford. And I was, after much persistence, able to find out what happened to those nuns after their home was demolished and they were expelled.

Their stories contain more than one surprise.

To read about my discoveries, go here.

Thank you!

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