Absolutely gripping. While it is a "fictional account", the amount of research that went into this book is astonishing. Great for anyone who has an interest in historical fiction!
Plausible, clever piece of fiction. Well written -hard to put down once started.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was recommended to my by a friend. It's a pretty quick read, and I found myself quickly engaged in the story.
Was Pope John VIII the actual Pope Joan? Regardless this is an entertaining read. I enjoyed the story of life in the dark ages. I also enjoy stories with strong women characters and this fits the bill. I especially enjoyed the authors notes and her research and thoughts for the story arch which worked well for me. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction might enjoy this book.
This was definitely not a comfortable read. The first part describing her early life at home, then subsequent schooling which was unusual for that time was interesting. After assuming her brother's identity, the story just turns "icky". Her actions did not comport with her role as a spiritual leader nor was she an effective political one. I don't know if this is supposed to be an ultra-feminist condemnation of a patriarchal society including the Church. (?) I'm just left wondering what was the point of the book.
This action-packed novel chronicles the life of the alleged female pope that some believe reigned for a few years during the Middle Ages. Whether you consider the character of Pope Joan fact or fiction, this story of a brave and strong-willed woman struggling against the restrictions of her time may appeal to you if you enjoy Vatican intrigue and are not put off by the brutality of the Dark Ages.
Was she legend or a hidden part of history? This was a compelling story with a strong inspiring main character.
An intriguing historical read! A little historical note at the end of the book to site why a female pope might have been possible during this time in history.
Comparing two novels about legendary Pope Joan, Lawrence Durrell's adaption of the 19th c. Greek novel, and a modern one by Donna Woolfolk Cross, I found neither very satisfactory. The Greek version, though satirical and irreverent in places, is mostly dry and boring; the modern version, admittedly well researched, uses too much gore and blood to rack up sales...
I found the insertion of antiquated vocabulary in this book annoying, not because I couldn't understand it, but because the intention ("Let's give this medieval coloring") is too obvious.
Set in the Middle Ages, a woman follows her burning desire to read, educates herself as a scholar & healer, and rises through the church to become Pope, all the while disguised as a man.
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