We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
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.
Regular Price:$38.49
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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

4.1 (283 )
5 star
 (119)
4 star
 (99)
3 star
 (37)
2 star
 (18)
1 star
 (10)
Overall
4.2 (193 )
5 star
 (92)
4 star
 (64)
3 star
 (26)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (3)
Story
4.3 (195 )
5 star
 (94)
4 star
 (73)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    S. Lev-Ami 05-25-10
    S. Lev-Ami 05-25-10 Member Since 2010

    Antigonos

    HELPFUL VOTES
    194
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    160
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "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.

    14 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 07-19-11
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 07-19-11 Member Since 2006

    malfi

    HELPFUL VOTES
    872
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    351
    181
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    290
    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?

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reuven Nisser Garfield, NJ United States 11-02-09
    Reuven Nisser Garfield, NJ United States 11-02-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    158
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Nash Northville, MI United States 04-14-11
    D. Nash Northville, MI United States 04-14-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    69
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Modern characters in the 9th Century"

    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.

    2 of 3 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
    44
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    74
    52
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Flowery Branch, GA, USA 04-06-13
    Mary Flowery Branch, GA, USA 04-06-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    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
  •  
    AM 01-05-13
    AM 01-05-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    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
  •  
    Kathie Valeri Carroll Michigan 06-23-11
    Kathie Valeri Carroll Michigan 06-23-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Pope Joan"

    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!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Arlington, VA, United States 09-13-10
    Sandra Arlington, VA, United States 09-13-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    131
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    320
    67
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Missed opportunity"

    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.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca 01-26-10
    Rebecca 01-26-10

    I read like a madwoman all my life but now I have bad eyes. Thank goodness for audio books

    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    79
    46
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I really liked this book"

    Except the ending was not what I expected. I guess it did have to end that way. I was wondering prior to getting it if I would think it was boring. I really did not and wish the author would write more of that period. If you like historical fiction, of which I am a buff, (wish audible would make a category for me so I can find them easier)you will really like this story.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.