Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pope Joan - Donna Woolfolk Cross

I'd heard about this book years ago and made a mental note to read it....someday.

Well, someday came when a neighbor loaned it to me for my vacation.  I wasn't sure if I wanted a "deep" read or a "no-brainer," so I took it along just in case I chose "deep."  I'm really glad I did, too!  I immediately was engrossed in Joan's life and was intrigued by her plight.

Legendary Pope Joan was a woman who posed as a man in the Middle Ages in order to gain the education and equality that men in that time automatically aquired.  Intellegent, strong and brave, Joan goes from abused child to Pope in a time when women were treated as inferior to men, enslaved as wives and daughters without the hope of education and knowledge.  Brutality and unfairness bombard her at every turn, yet she fights the fight in order to gain what she knows she deserves.

I wouldn't say I LOVED this book, but I couldn't put it down.  I read it every chance I got because I just had to know what would happen to Joan next.  I have no idea if this legend has any truth to it, but regardless of if Pope Joan was a woman that did indeed exist in the Middle Ages, she is a woman who we can all learn quite a bit from.  Perserverance, dedication and strength of character just pour out of this woman, as if she could truly handle the next horrible action against her.  Most of us would have crumbled from the beginning, let alone stand 'til the end.

The hardest part for me, personally, was any interaction Joan had with her father.  Bottom line:  He scared the crap outta me.  Supposedly a "religious" man, he was evil, vile and abusive to anyone he came in contact with....unless they were his superiors.  I cringed when the author brought him up.  I hated what he would do to his wife, his the name of his religion.  Grrrrrrr.  He made me so mad.  I know, however, that that was how the author, Donna Woolfork Cross, wanted us to feel.  It made Joan's destination that much more desirable.  Get safe.  Get respected.  Get glorified!  Ha! So there, DAD!

Historical fiction has always intrigued me, and this book was no exception.  The idea of it potentially happening, I suppose, brought that much more enjoyment out of the book.  I honestly doubt it's true, but who cares.  It was a fascinating read. If you're into historical fiction, touched with romance, then you'll like this book. 

(4 stars)

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