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Pope Joan | [Donna Woolfolk Cross]

Pope Joan

For a thousand years her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die - Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. Now in this riveting novel, Donna Woolfolk Cross paints a sweeping portrait of an unforgettable heroine who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept.
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Publisher's Summary

For a thousand years her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die - Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter.

Now in this riveting novel, Donna Woolfolk Cross paints a sweeping portrait of an unforgettable heroine who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept.

Brilliant and talented, young Joan rebels against medieval social strictures forbidding women to learn. When her brother is brutally killed during a Viking attack, Joan takes up his cloak - and his identity - and enters the monastery of Fulda. As Brother John Anglicus, Joan distinguishes herself as a great scholar and healer. Eventually, she is drawn to Rome, where she becomes enmeshed in a dangerous web of love, passion, and politics.

Triumphing over appalling odds, she finally attains the highest office in Christendom - wielding a power greater than any woman before or since. But such power always comes at a price....

©1996 , 2009 Donna Woolfolk Cross; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Whether or not one believes in Joan as Pope, this is a compelling story, filled with all kinds of lore: the brutishness of the Dark Ages, Vatican intrigue, politics and favoritism and most of all, the place of women in the Church and in the world." (Amazon.com review)
"In this colorful, richly imagined novel, Cross ably inspires a suspension of disbelief, pulling off the improbable feat of writing a romance starring a pregnant pope." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (233 )
5 star
 (96)
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4.2 (147 )
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4.3 (150 )
5 star
 (74)
4 star
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3 star
 (16)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Reuven Nisser Garfield, NJ United States 11-02-09
    Reuven Nisser Garfield, NJ United States 11-02-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "Lady Pope"

    Pope Joan is a very good book. I couldn't stop listening to it, and after I finished- I thought more about the carichtors. After a very shocking trauma, Joan chose to live in 2 worlds: One in which she is almost a man, a priest who does many almost unbelievable things. In the other, she is a woman who does the most womanly things. The only link between her 2 worlds is her love to Jerald. If you are in the search for a provoking and enjoyable listening, I recommend you to buy this book.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Lev-Ami 05-25-10
    S. Lev-Ami 05-25-10 Member Since 2005

    Antigonos

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "Silly Woman!"

    Donna Cross leaves no cliche uncoined in this overlong and faintly ridiculous attempt at the legend of a medieval female pope. There are numerous anachronisms, and the turgid prose, predictable plot make it very difficult for Barbara Rosenblat to give it a convincing reading. After her exceptional reading of the Amelia Peabody novels, I had hoped for much more from her. The yawn factor was very high for me with this book. I'm being generous with 3 stars.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine 07-17-11
    Elaine 07-17-11

    I'm a country potter, gardener, flute player and tin tinker living with my husband, an electrical engineer & cabinet maker.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very interesting and well written"

    Since trying Pillars of the Earth after seeing the high rating from Audible members I've been leery of any books. I found Follet's writing of poor quality with repetitious and excessive wording. A good story but at least 100 pages longer than needed.

    Pope Joan deserve high marks for historical fiction, quality writing, a well crafted story and it's all delivered in marvelous narration. Well worth the listen.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 07-19-11
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 07-19-11 Member Since 2005

    malfi

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    6
    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    I had heard a lot of good buzz about this novel and was looking forward to it. In the end, while it kept my attention, it was just OK. Cross relied too heavily on clich??s, and the book would have been better without shoving in the mushy romance. So is the moral of the story that women should be treated as individuals and judged according to their abilities--or is it that women, in the end, really are creatures ruled by their passions and need a man to control them?

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Flowery Branch, GA, USA 04-06-13
    Mary Flowery Branch, GA, USA 04-06-13 Member Since 2007
    ratings
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    7
    3
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    Story
    "Great Listen"
    What did you love best about Pope Joan?

    Loved the story, just enough detail, and great plot.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Loved the interaction with all of the characters, but really admired Joan.


    Which character – as performed by Barbara Rosenblat – was your favorite?

    I like Barbara Rosenblat. She's very good as she tells stories and her narration does not get in the way of the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy KITCHENER, ON, Canada 02-01-13
    Peggy KITCHENER, ON, Canada 02-01-13
    ratings
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating story"
    What did you love best about Pope Joan?

    Her character---she was brilliant, honest and true to her values despite what wrath that would bring down on her.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It gave a very honest potrayal of the dysfunction of the Church in the treatment of women, the cruel punishments inflicted on its members and the blatant hypocrisy of the hierarchy.


    What does Barbara Rosenblat bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her narration was excellent! You could tell exactly which characters she was portraying by the changes in her voice. I love the audio books because I load them on my ipod and I can listen to them when I go walking or when I'm doing boring household tasks. I have a busy life and don't have time to sit and read a book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    My heart went out to the child Joan when she was so savagelly beaten by her wicked father just because she wanted to read. Also when the monks were beaten mercilessly because they would fall asleep during their reading of the scriptures. All of this in the name of religion was appalling to me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AM 01-05-13
    AM 01-05-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    23
    6
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    Story
    "Very interesting!"
    Would you listen to Pope Joan again? Why?

    I loved listening to this book. Makes you wonder! The reader was perfect for this book - I could picture the scenes in my head as she painted the story. This book is definitely a Catholic conspiracy theory - and true or not it is very entertaining.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Connors 10-08-12
    S. Connors 10-08-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exceptional research, written, and read!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Pope Joan to be better than the print version?

    I love Barbara Rosenblat, so I'm bias.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Pope Joan?

    Too many to count.


    Which character – as performed by Barbara Rosenblat – was your favorite?

    They were all preformed very well.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me think.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.L.M. Virginia 10-08-12
    J.L.M. Virginia 10-08-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    2
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    "Great Book"
    Would you try another book from Donna Woolfolk Cross and/or Barbara Rosenblat?

    yes


    Has Pope Joan turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    This was an epic tale made more tantalizing by historians who agree that Pope Joan did indeed exist. Though it was a very lengthy book, (19 hrs) it was the perfect travel companion on a long trip, with tales of love, war, triumph and tragedy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HODGEPODGESPV COPPELL, TX, United States 01-05-12
    HODGEPODGESPV COPPELL, TX, United States 01-05-12 Member Since 2008

    I have two rescue dogs. One Scottish born husband. And a love of books that goes back to childhood and bookmobiles!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard back, audio or video"

    i first read this book when it came out and was so excited, i had to get it to a catholic friend of mine. the only thing missing from the audio was after the close of the book where the author disclosed where she got the idea and showed a picture of the chair with the hole in it that appeared after pope joan died. recently there was a release of the movie on reels tv. something seemed amiss and i wanted to check it out. as it was available here (and i do so love to listen to books), I used one of my credits on it. Why? Because I love audio books that don't take up space in my house.

    now if i've purchased a book twice and watch the movie version as well, this has to be a book that i found well above average. i think you will as well enjoy this woman's journey. you might even find you have to invite your best friend over so you can listen to again as you share it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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