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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 (214 )
5 star
 (86)
4 star
 (78)
3 star
 (27)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.2 (129 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (132 )
5 star
 (67)
4 star
 (46)
3 star
 (13)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (3)
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 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Lev-Ami JERUSALEM Israel 05-25-10
    S. Lev-Ami JERUSALEM Israel 05-25-10 Member Since 2005

    Antigonos

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Wellsville, New York, United States 07-17-11
    Elaine Wellsville, New York, United States 07-17-11 Member Since 2009

    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.

    2 of 3 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 7 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
    117
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    61
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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 9 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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    40
    3
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    Story
    "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 0 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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    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 Charlotte, NC 01-05-13
    AM Charlotte, NC 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
  •  
    Sammie Missouri Ozarks 10-29-12
    Sammie Missouri Ozarks 10-29-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Fascinating story"

    I found this to be a very interesting study of the history of the times. There were some facts I certainly did not know and the presentation made the characters very real. I was not aware of this legend and I like the fact that it may very well be based in truth!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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