Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Every once in a while, we as readers are lucky enough to find that hidden treasure – the book we cantBest read 2009 wait to read in its entirety… yet we are saddened when it is done, as though we just said good-bye to a good friend. I have just experienced such a read. ~Sheila


p joanFor 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.

My thoughts:  Endings are inevitable.  In life…as they are in books.  With each page of a great read you are excited to move on to the longed for conclusion…. yet at the end, you may sit there as I am now, almost feeling a loss.  This book was such a find for me and I absolutely loved the historical value in this read.  Joan was strong and determined from the moment she was born – until the moment she died.  I found myself trying to find moments in my day when I could pick up this book and read even if it was only for a minute or two.  Donna Woolfolk Cross writes with a brilliant stroke where at times I even laughed out loud at the witness of her words.  donna2006

Donna Woolfolk Cross graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969 with a B.A. in English.  She moved to London, England, after graduation, and worked as an editorial assistant for a small publishing house on Fleet Street, W.H. Allen and Company.  Upon her return to the United States, Cross worked at Young and Rubicam, a Madison Avenue advertising firm, before going on to graduate school at UCLA where she earned a master’s degree in Literature and Writing in 1972.

She is the coauthor of Speaking of Words and Daddy’s Little Girl.  The product of seven years of research and writing, Pope Joan is her first novel.  She is now at work on a new novel set in 17th century France.

More on Donna Woolfolk Cross here in my author interview

Was there a Pope Joan?

I for one hope that Joan really did live on this earth.  A woman ahead of her time – I applaud her strength and conviction.  Joan, fictitious or not, lived a life that few could live up to even today.

Thank you Donna for a read that I can honestly chalk up there with one of the best books I have read this year.  I will treasure this book and our conversations, forever.


“Partout ou vous voyez une legende, vous pouvez etre sur, en allant au fond des choses, que vous trouverez une histoire.”

“Whenever you see a legend, you can be sure, if you go to the very bottom of things, that you will find history.”

~Vallet de Viriville

Go here to my earlier post where you have a chance to win a sign and inscribed copy of Pope Joan from Donna Woolfolk Cross.

Information to the movie Pope Joan due out this Fall of 2009!

More about the novel

Enchanted by Josephine’s post and author interview for Pope Joan

redcarpetMy Amazon Review

*This book was purchased locally at our very own BookWorld in Brainerd Minnesota

I rate Pope Joan PG13 for some mild nudity and violence


About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on July 29, 2009, in Book Review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Fabulous review! I’m adding this one to my wishlist straight away.

    I love your quote at the beginning of the review.

  2. Hi Sheila ! This book is going on my “To be read” list.

  3. Hi Sheila:) I love your review- it’s impossible not to rave about this one! Thanks for linking me- I just put my review up as well, and linked you too:) Come check it out.
    Lucy

  4. I have this one on hold. Can’t wait to grab it. :)

  5. I must get my hands on this one soon. It sounds great.

    –Anna

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