Pope Joan

Pope Joan

A Novel

Book - 1997
Average Rating:
17
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"Engaging . . . Pope Joan has all the elements: love, sex, violence, duplicity, and long-buried secrets." --Los Angeles Times Book Review For a thousand years men have denied her existence--Pope Joan, the woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to rule Christianity for two years. Now this compelling novel animates the legend with a portrait of an unforgettable woman who struggles against  restrictions her soul cannot accept. When her older brother dies in a Viking attack, the brilliant young Joan assumes his identity and enters a Benedictine monastery where, as  Brother John Anglicus, she distinguishes herself as a scholar and healer. Eventually drawn to Rome, she soon becomes enmeshed in a dangerous mix of powerful passion and explosive politics that threatens her life even as it elevates her to the highest throne in the Western world. "Brings the savage ninth century vividly to life in all its alien richness. An enthralling, scholarly historical novel." --Rebecca Fraser, Author of The Brontës
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1997, c1996
Edition: 1st Ballantine Books ed
ISBN: 9780345416261
0345416260
Branch Call Number: F Cro

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m
martine6
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!

r
rmc63
Apr 25, 2016

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

l
lizabook
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.

t
Terre9
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.

v
veggiegurl
Nov 30, 2012

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

7
70greengirl
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.

d
doroschelch
Jun 05, 2012

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.

gracindaisy May 03, 2012

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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