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
"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)
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.
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?
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.
The title of my review says it all. I agree with the reviewer that says there are a lot of anachronisms in this book. The characters act modern! Joan's brother whines that it "isn't fair" that he has to go to school. I don't think that there was much FAIR about life in the 9th century. I hated that the author beat me over the head with the "downtrodden woman" thing. Since we've only had the vote for the past 100 years, I would say that it should come as no surprise and I didn't need constant reminding of it. All the characters are one dimensional, too. Not recommended.
I'm a country potter, gardener, flute player and tin tinker living with my husband, an electrical engineer & cabinet maker.
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.
I loved the suspense in this story! I loved all the characters and the style of its writing. I've already recommended it to several friends. It's hard to come across such a sting female character that is also not somehow putting down the male gender.
Loved the story, just enough detail, and great plot.
Loved the interaction with all of the characters, but really admired Joan.
I like Barbara Rosenblat. She's very good as she tells stories and her narration does not get in the way of the story.
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.
Could this really be true? Really made you wonder if back in the day this could have happened. Found the information in this book fascinating and it really gave you a glimpse into a whole other world for women. I would like to believe there were women in the day that were strong enough to do what was necessary for them in a man's world. I found the author's notes at the end very interesting. Great listen and found it hard to put down!
I picked this book with the expectation that we would see how a woman might change the course of human affairs early in the development of contemporary civilization. Cross missed her opportunity to define how a feminist point of view might have truly made a difference. At the end, one is left with a "so what" -- having been female didn't alter anything? so what did it matter? being smarter didn't change anything, so what did it matter? I'm wondering why it mattered that I even finished listening. It didn't. Can't remember much about Joan anymore.
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