Saturday, December 27, 2014

Pope Joan

6216972From Goodreads:    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 . . . 

In this international bestseller, Cross brings the Dark Ages to life in all their brutal splendor and shares the dramatic story of a woman whose strength of vision led her to defy the social restrictions of her day.

My Thoughts:

-    This was an interesting book. I'm glad we read it for book club. I wouldn't have picked this up by myself.

-    I didn't love it, but I liked it. I wouldn't read it again, but I'm glad I read it.

-    I'm SO grateful that I wasn't alive during the 800s. Women were treated awful, and child birth was scary! Thank goodness for modern medicine. 

-    The book was easier to read and more interesting than I thought it would be.

-    There is part where Joan tastes some urine!! Gross!!!

-    The raping scene was bit disturbing for me. It wasn't explicit, but I felt gross after reading it. Other than that it is a pretty clean read.

-    I felt like I was waiting for things to happen for most of the book. I was waiting for Joan to disguise herself as  a man, I was waiting for her to be Pope, I was waiting for her and Gerold to runaway together, etc. 

-    I didn't understand all the Catholic hierarchy, but I don't think it detracted from the story. 

-    Do I think Joan really existed? I don't know. It is interesting to think about though. There are some substantial things to support that there was a female Pope, but it still makes me wonder. 

-    I do believe that women attempted to dress as men to get farther in life. I wonder how many were caught and how many lived full lives. 


  1. So, I want to know if tasting urine is scientifically sound. I'd never do it, but it seems weird and I don't think you can tell if someone is pregnant by it. So weird.

    1. There is a lot you can tell from a person from their urine. I just don't think tasting it is very sanitary.