29 November 2018

Historical Fiction Spotlight ~ The Altarpiece (The Cross and The Crown Book 1) by Sarah Kennedy

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

It is 1535, and in the tumultuous years of King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, the religious houses of England are being seized by force. Twenty-year-old Catherine Havens is a foundling and the adopted daughter of the prioress of the Priory of Mount Grace in a small Yorkshire village. 

Catherine, like her adoptive mother, has a gift for healing, and she is widely sought and admired for her knowledge. However, the king's divorce dashes Catherine’s hopes for a place at court, and she reluctantly takes the veil. 

When the priory’s costly altarpiece goes missing, Catherine and her friend Ann Smith find themselves under increased suspicion. King Henry VIII’s soldiers have not had their fill of destruction, and when they return to Mount Grace to destroy the priory, Catherine must choose between the sacred calling of her past and the man who may represent her country’s future.
". . . a great many things are happening in The Altarpiece: there is mystery, action, and even some romance. Kennedy has managed to create some interesting characters in the sisters of Mount Grace,particularly in Catherine, who is both intelligent and resourceful."--Historical Novels Review

"Kennedy demonstrates a robust knowledge of Tudor-era medicine and folk cures.  The reader is introduced to the mortal effects of monkshood, the blood-clotting capabilities of cobweb and lard, and the healing properties of holly, ale, chickweed and basil.  Indeed, one of the most intriguing features of the novel is its many references period antidotes and recipes, and they provide an illuminating glimpse into Tudor-era life.  . . . This book recommends itself first on the basis that it is quite simply a well told mystery story.  It also makes Tudor England accessible to a large audience, and will hopefully even encourage scholarly interest in the subject."
--Sixteenth Century Journal

"Sarah Kennedy's debut novel, The Altarpiece, is not one to be missed. The thoroughly absorbing story, as finely wrought as the missing artwork that sets the plot into motion, is rife with drama, intrigue, and thrilling historical details that echo the most riveting passages of Margaret George's Tudor-era biographical novels . . . while detailing the utter destruction of the Catholic church in England during the Protestant Reformation. Though the mystery of the missing altarpiece makes this novel a page-turner, at the heart of the story lurks something much more vital: a smart young woman's desire to pursue a much greater life than the one offered to her."--Per Contra
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About the Author

Sarah Kennedy was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. A professor of English at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, Sarah is the author of seven books of poems. She holds a PhD in Renaissance literature and an MFA in creative writing. Sarah has received grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts and is currently a contributing editor for Shenandoah. Find out more at Sarah's website sarahkennedybooks.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @KennedyNovels 

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