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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 (218 )
5 star
 (88)
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4.2 (133 )
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4.3 (136 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    HODGEPODGESPV COPPELL, TX, United States 01-05-12
    HODGEPODGESPV COPPELL, TX, United States 01-05-12 Member Since 2008
    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
  •  
    Kathie Valeri Carroll Michigan 06-23-11
    Kathie Valeri Carroll Michigan 06-23-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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 1 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
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    "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 Cedaredge, CO, USA 01-26-10
    Rebecca Cedaredge, CO, USA 01-26-10 Member Since 2006

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
  •  
    Sue Ellen New Orleans, LA, USA 06-07-10
    Sue Ellen New Orleans, LA, USA 06-07-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Disappointed"

    in both the recording and the novel. My favorite narrator, so was the production poor? Or was Ms. Rosenblatt just off her game? Some books are difficult to read aloud. The arc of the story held few surprises and the writing was pedantic and overwrought.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    alejandra tujunga, CA, United States 07-10-13
    alejandra tujunga, CA, United States 07-10-13 Member Since 2009
    ratings
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    "Great Historical Novel"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Pope Joan to be better than the print version?

    This is a very interesting story, I'm not sure if is History or fiction, but either way is very well written and with lots of great detail of the time period.
    I was hooked from the beginning and couldn't wait to listen to it.


    0 of 1 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
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    "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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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