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About Nancy Bilyeau
If you tell Nancy Bilyeau that reading one of her historical novels of suspense is like strapping yourself into a time machine, you'll make her a happy woman. She loves crafting immersive historical stories, whether it's the Gilded Age of New York in "Dreamland" and "The Ghost of Madison Avenue," the 18th-century European porcelain workshops in "The Blue," or Henry VIII's tumultuous England in "The Crown," "The Chalice," and "The Tapestry."
In "The Blue," Nancy drew on her own heritage as a Huguenot. She is a direct descendant of Pierre Billiou, a French Huguenot who immigrated to what was then New Amsterdam (later New York City) in 1661. Nancy's ancestor, Isaac, was born on the boat crossing the Atlantic, the St. Jean de Baptiste. Pierre's stone house still stands and is the third oldest house in New York State.
Her upcoming historical novel, "The Fugitive Colours," is a sequel to "The Blue." It's set in the fevered art world of 1764 London, where painters would go to any lengths for money and power, and tells what happens when one woman artist takes on this dangerous world. It will be published in May 2022.
Nancy's mind is always in past centuries but she currently lives with her husband and two children in upstate New York. Her quest to cook the perfectly flavored cassoulet is ongoing.
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As Genevieve Sturbridge struggles to keep her silk design business afloat, she must face the fact that London in 1764 is very much a man’s world. Men control the arts and sciences, men control politics and law. And men definitely control women.
A Huguenot living in Spitalfields, Genevieve one day receives a surprise invitation from an important artist. Grasping at the promise of a better life, she dares to hope her luck is about to change and readies herself for an entry into the world of serious art.
She soon learns that for the portrait painters ruling over the wealthy in London society, fame and fortune are there for the taking. But such high stakes spur rivalries that darken to sabotage and blackmail—and even murder. And watching from the shadows are ruthless spies who wish harm to all of England.
Genevieve begins to suspect that her own secret past, when she was caught up in conspiracy and betrayal, has more to do with her entrée into London society than her talent. One wrong move could cost her not just her artistic dreams but the love of those she holds dear … and even her life.
A sequel to Nancy Bilyeau’s The Blue, The Fugitive Colours again reveals a dazzling world of glamour and treachery in Georgian England, when beauty held more value than human life.
The Fugitive Colours:/h2>
"The Best Books to Read in May": The Fugitive Colours - Town & Country magazine.
"A cracking historical spy thriller"- Historical Novel Society
"Set in Georgian-era London, The Fugitive Colours is an immersive historical mystery full of surprising twists" - Foreword Reviews
"A worthy successor to Nancy Bilyeau’s excellent The Blue. Genevieve Planché is back with another edge-of-your-seat mystery, packed with fascinating characters and rich, well-researched historical detail. The Fugitive Colours proves that Bilyeau is one of the best authors of historical thrillers working today" - Olivia Hawker, bestselling author of One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow
"The world of eighteenth-century London comes vividly to life in Nancy Bilyeau's The Fugitive Colours. Highly recommended" - Finola Austin, author of Bronte's Mistress
"It’s a heady brew that Bilyeau mixes up, served up in the finest of crystalline prose" - Timothy Miller, author of The Strange Case of the Dutch Painter
"Recommended for readers who enjoyed The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, and The Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier" - Laurel Ann Nattress, austenprose.com
Nancy Bilyeau, a Michigan native, has worked as an editor on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, and Good Housekeeping. Passionate about history and art, she wrote an award-winning trilogy set in Tudor England before creating a heroine, Genevieve Planché, who holds personal significance.
In eighteenth-century London, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities; fortunes are made and lost upon it. Kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces and the secrets of their manufacture.
For Genevieve Planché, an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure; she wants to be an artist, a painter of international repute, but nobody takes the idea of a female artist seriously in London. If only she could reach Venice.
When Genevieve meets the charming Sir Gabriel Courtenay, he offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse; if she learns the secrets of porcelain, he will send her to Venice. But in particular, she must learn the secrets of the colour blue…
The ensuing events take Genevieve deep into England’s emerging industrial heartlands, where not only does she learn about porcelain, but also about the art of industrial espionage.
With the heart and spirit of her Huguenot ancestors, Genevieve faces her challenges head on, but how much is she willing to suffer in pursuit and protection of the colour blue?
'The Blue is a fast-paced and highly engaging historical thriller packed with period detail and peopled with characters that the reader really grows to care about.' - NB Magazine
'Bilyeau’s research is impeccable, taking what might have been a dreary industrial novel and making it into a living, breathing drama. Kudos and highly recommended!' - Historical Novel Society, and Editor's Choice
‘...transports the reader into the heart of the 18th century porcelain trade—where the price of beauty was death.’ - E.M. Powell, author of the Stanton & Barling medieval mystery series.
'Bilyeau is an impressive talent who brings to life a heart-stopping story of adventure, art and espionage during the Seven Years War.' - Stephanie Dray, bestselling author of My Dear Hamilton
'Historical fans will be well satisfied.' - Publishers Weekly
'With rich writing, surprising twists, and a riveting sense of 'you are there,' The Blue is spine-tingling entertainment.' – Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins
Nancy Bilyeau, a Michigan native, has worked as an editor on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, and Good Housekeeping. Passionate about history and art, she wrote an award-winning trilogy set in Tudor England before creating a heroine, Genevieve Planché, who holds personal significance. Nancy is descended from a Huguenot settler who came to America in 1661 and draws on her fascination with French Protestant refugees when writing the character of Genevieve Planché, a Huguenot artist. Today Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.
In 1538, England’s bloody power struggle between crown and cross threatens to tear the country apart. Novice Joanna Stafford has tasted the wrath of the royal court, discovered what lies within the king’s torture rooms, and escaped death at the hands of those desperate to possess the power of an ancient relic.
Even with all she has experienced, the quiet life is not for Joanna. Despite the possibilities of arrest and imprisonment, she becomes caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting Henry VIII himself. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna realizes her role is more critical than she’d ever imagined. She must choose between those she loves most and assuming her part in a prophecy foretold by three seers. Repelled by violence, Joanna seizes a future with a man who loves her. But no matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape the spreading darkness of her destiny.
To learn the final, sinister piece of the prophecy, she flees across Europe with a corrupt spy sent by Spain. As she completes the puzzle in the dungeon of a twelfth-century Belgian fortress, Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies. . . .
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.
'Achingly believable' - Publishers Weekly
'This fast-paced, engrossing novel from Bilyeau... gives readers an up-close and personal view of New York’s Gilded Age' - Library Journal
'Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Dreamland is a rollicking ride.' - Fiona Davis, bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls 'A marvelous book!' - Ellen Marie Wiseman, bestselling author of What she Left Behind and The Life she was Given
'Bilyeau is at the height of her talents in the immersive and gripping Dreamland' - Heather Webb, USA Today bestselling author
'Bilyeau’s thrilling novel plunges deep into Dreamland’s maze of pleasure and menace' - Marlowe Benn, bestselling author of Relative Fortunes 'Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books' – Alison Weir
The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.
The invitation to Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.
But soon it transpires that the hedonism of Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of. Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal, and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamor of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything… even murder.
Extravagant, intoxicating, and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class, and dangerous obsession.
What readers are saying about Dreamland...
"If you enjoyed Downton Abbey and want something from that time, set in the US, but with a delicious murder mystery thrown in, you will love this book." Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I loved everything about this book and I will definitely look for more to read by Bilyeau! I enjoyed the pacing and character development so much and completely got wrapped up in the story." NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"This suspenseful tale has every element of success: murder, deceit, love, corruption, perseverance, obsession, and redemption. A book that will keep you up at night rushing to the end but that will leave you wanting more once you're finished." Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Henry VIII's Palace of Whitehall is the last place on earth Joanna Stafford wants to be. But a summons from the king cannot be refused.
After her priory was destroyed, Joanna, a young Dominican novice, vowed to live a quiet life, weaving tapestries and shunning dangerous conspiracies. That all changes when the king takes an interest in her tapestry talent.
With a ruthless monarch tiring of his fourth wife and amoral noblemen driven by hidden agendas, Joanna becomes entangled in Tudor court politics. Her close friend, Catherine Howard. is rumored to be the king's mistress, and Joanna is determined to protect her from becoming the king's next wife—and victim. All the while, Joanna tries to understand her feelings for the two men in her life: the constable who tried to save her and the friar she can't forget.
In a world of royal banquets, jousts, sea voyages and Tower Hill executions, Joanna must finally choose her future: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier.
The Tapestry is the final book in a Tudor trilogy that began in 2012 with The Crown, an Oprah magazine pick. Don't miss the adventures of one of the most unforgettable heroines in historical fiction.
In this unforgettable story, bestselling author Nancy Bilyeau takes readers to J. P. Morgan's private library in December 1912, when two very different people haunted by lost love come together in an unexpected way.
Helen O’Neill, part of a tight-knit Irish-American family in the Bronx, is only too happy to report to work at the spectacular private library built on Madison Avenue by millionaire financier J. P. Morgan. The head librarian, the brilliant and beautiful Belle da Costa Greene, had hired Helen away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art after she witnessed Helen’s unusual talent with handling artifacts.
Helen soon discovers the Morgan Library is a place like no other, with its secret staircases, magical manuscripts, and mysterious murals. But that’s nothing compared to a person Helen alone sees: a young woman standing on Madison Avenue, looking as if she were keeping watch. In learning the woman’s true link to the Morgan, Helen must face the pain of her own past. She finds herself with a second chance at happiness—if she has the courage.
From the author of The Blue, the Joanna Stafford trilogy, and Dreamland, set in 1911 Coney Island, comes The Ghost of Madison Avenue, a story both thrilling and moving.
Praise for Nancy Bilyeau’s Fiction
"Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books"
—Alison Weir, bestselling historian and novelist
On The Ghost of Madison Avenue:
"The Gilded Age splendors of the Morgan Library come to life in this wonderful, warm-hearted tale of Christmases past, present, and future. Bilyeau weaves a wealth of gorgeous period detail into her ghost story of old New York, delivering genuine chills, family drama, and poignant romance with equal skill. A gorgeous holiday treat!"
—Mariah Fredericks, author of Death of a New American
"This fast-paced, engrossing novel from Bilyeau … gives readers an up-close and personal view of New York’s Gilded Age"
—Library Journal, starred review
"Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Dreamland is a rollicking ride."
—Fiona Davis, author of The Chelsea Girls
"A marvelous book!"
—Ellen Marie Wiseman, author of What She Left Behind
On The Blue:
"Definitely a winner!"
—Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network
—Ian Rankin, international bestseller
On the Joanna Stafford Trilogy:
"All the ingredients of the best historical fiction … will satisfy even the most ardent mystery fans."
—Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches
"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.
Joanna zwischen Glauben, Macht und Liebe
Im letzten Band der Trilogie um die Novizin Joanna Stafford wird sie an den Hof Heinrichs VIII.befohlen und muss erneut gegen dunkle Machenschaften kämpfen. Sie trifft unliebsame Bekannte wie Bischof Gardiner wieder, aber auch Vertraute wie Geoffrey Scovill. Gefahrvolle Abenteuer führen Joanna bis nach Deutschland, bevor sich ihr Schicksal gemäß der alten Prophezeiung erfüllt.
Joanna zwischen Glauben, Macht und Liebe
Im ersten Teil des Romans reist Joanna widerstrebend nach London an den Hof des Königs. Sie soll als Tapisseriemeisterin die kostbaren Wandteppiche des Königs pflegen. Im Palast gerät sie sogleich in einen Hinterhalt, aus dem sie nur knapp entkommt. Ihr zur Seite steht der junge Kammerherr des Königs, Thomas Culpeper, doch Joanna gerät immer tiefer in ein Netz hinterlistiger Intrigen.
Londres, 25 de mayo de 1537
Cuando se anuncia una muerte en la hoguera, las tabernas de los alrededores de Smithfield encargan barricas de cerveza adicionales, pero cuando quien va a morir en la hoguera es una mujer y además de noble cuna, llegan carros de cerveza. Yo viajaba en uno de esos carros el viernes de la semana de Pentecostés, en el vigésimo octavo año del reinado de Enrique VIII, para ofrecer plegarias por el alma de la traidora condenada a morir: lady Margaret Bulmer.
Cuando la joven novicia Joanna Stafford, hija de la primera dama de la reina Catalina de Aragón, se entera de que su querida prima Margaret va a ser ejecutada públicamente en la hoguera, rompe el voto de clausura y se escapa del monasterio del priorato de Dartford. Sin embargo es detenida junto con su padre, sir Richard Stafford, también presente en la ejecución, y acusados ambos de intentar sabotearla, son encerrados en la Torre de Londres. El padre de Joanna sufre atroces torturas mientras la novicia es tratada con amabilidad y respeto, pero su trato privilegiado se debe al interés que sus dotes intelectuales suscitan en el arzobispo de Winchester. La novicia tendrá que realizar un importante encargo: buscar una misteriosa reliquia portadora de enormes poderes, la corona del primitivo rey de la cristiandad Athelstan, hecha con las espinas de la corona de Cristo. La responsabilidad del cierre de los monasterios de Inglaterra y la vida de su padre están ahora en las manos de Joanna…