Pope Joan

Pope Joan

A Novel

Book - 2009
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Born in 9th-century Frankland, Joan demonstrates her brilliance early but must hide her learning from her missionary father, who considers the education of women sacrilegious and dangerous. Tutored first by her older brother and then a Greek scholar, Joan eventually secures a place at the schola in Dorstadt. To protect herself after a Viking raid, Joan dons her dead brother's clothing and assumes a man's identity. Suddenly the intelligence that once brought her ridicule and punishment results in respect and authority. From the monastery in Fulda to Vatican politics in Rome, Joan eventually secures the church's highest office.
Publisher: New York : Three Rivers Press, [2009]
Edition: 1st Three Rivers Press ed
ISBN: 9780307452368
Branch Call Number: CROSS
Characteristics: 425 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm


From Library Staff

ArapahoeJillK Feb 12, 2018

A historically rich and compelling story about an amazing woman who rose to unimaginable heights during the 9th century.

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Apr 12, 2018

Love this book and have read it a kajillion times. Reading it always makes me happier. Yeah, now that I'm not 14 anymore, I see the flaws in the book, like how neatly the author splits her characters between good and evil (Joan's brother John is the only shade of grey). But how fun to jump back in and remember how each curl of the story unfolds.

ArapahoeJillK Feb 12, 2018

A historically rich and compelling story about an amazing woman who rose to unimaginable heights during the 9th century.

Jul 17, 2017

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!

Apr 25, 2016

Plausible, clever piece of fiction. Well written -hard to put down once started.

Jan 23, 2015

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.

Mar 05, 2014

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.

hania4987 Jul 12, 2013

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.

WVMLStaffPicks Jun 09, 2013

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.

Nov 30, 2012

Was she legend or a hidden part of history? This was a compelling story with a strong inspiring main character.

Sep 04, 2012

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.

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