Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elena Maria Vidal Interviews the Author of "The Crown"

She also promises a review of this historical novel soon on her blog, Tea at Trianon. An excerpt:

An aristocratic young nun must find a legendary crown in order to save her father—and preserve the Catholic faith from Cromwell’s ruthless terror. The year is 1537. . .

EMV: Nancy, welcome to Tea at Trianon! Congratulations on your magnificent novel, The Crown, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was especially impressed by the research that went into making it one of the most authentic novels of the Tudor era that I have ever read. You bring to life the beauty and peace of the cloister even as it is about to be destroyed. Can you tell us a little about how you began your journey into the past, and where you found the best sources on such a turbulent, controversial epoch?

NB: I’ve been interested in English history since I was 11 years old and saw a re-broadcast of “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” on television with my parents. Ever since that time, the Tudor period was my particular passion, and I read the major books about the time. I pored through the major biographies, from J.J. Scarisbricke’s Henry VIII to Garrett Mattingly’s Catherine of Aragon. Every time a new biography on Anne Boleyn was published, I bought it. I do think I have all of them. When I began the research for The Crown, I dove into all books and sources on the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Pilgrimage of Grace, which was the 1536-1537 rebellion in the North against the Protestant reforms. I found some of the most helpful books written almost a century ago: F.A. Gasquet’s English Monastic Life (1906) and Cranage’s The Home of the Monk: An Account of English Monastic Life and Buildings in the Middle Ages (1926). On the other end of the spectrum, British History Online is an amazing Internet source of contemporary and secondary source documents. . . .

I look forward to the review and to reading the book myself. I trust Elena Maria's judgment (after all, she liked Supremacy and Survival) and know she is great historical novelist herself (Trianon, Madame Royale, and The Night's Dark Shade) so when speaks so highly of an author's research, you know it will be good reading and good history. I certainly echo Nancy Bilyeau's comment about British History Online: it is a great source for little details about the last days of the monastic houses, etc.


  1. Hi Stephanie-

    I'm dropping you line to let you know I'm passing on a "meme"

    It means you are asked to put up a post of your three favourite books - then you ask 5 other bloggers to do the same.

    For info see:



  2. Thank you for the link and the kind words, Stephanie. It is a breakthrough novel in that it shows a Catholic point of view of the era which has rarely been done since Monsignor Benson's novels.

  3. There is more novel apart of Robert Hugh Benson, i am thinking
    the novel of Maurice Baring Robert Peckham, novel of Hugh Ross Williamson or the essay of Antonia Fraser. I wish this novel was translated to spanish very quickly i like the Tudors Age.