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.
- 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.