Monday, April 16, 2012

The Maid by Kimberly Cutter

The tale of the remarkable patron Saint of France, Joan of Arc. A well written biography of Joan's incredible, yet short life and her rise from plain peasant girl to the holy leader of the French army. Their bloody, uphill battle was to reclaim their country from the Goddons, Burgundians, and English and to restore King Charles to his rightful place on the throne. (Fat lot of thanks she gets from him for her victorious efforts). Over the centuries there have been debates on whether she was indeed sent by God to save France and whether her visitations from Saints Michael, Catherine, and Margaret were real or the ravings of an unbalanced and delusional girl. I have always believed Joan's claims to be true, she was declared a Saint in 1920 by the Catholic Church. She was also the patron saint of my mother, Joan, and I was named after my mom. So Jehanne d'Arc has always held a special fascination for me for this reason as well.
Rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Edited to add: There was one incident in the story that bothered me and I just couldn't forget about it. I wasn't exactly sure at the time what I was reading, it was so evil and horrific I thought it couldn't possibly mean that. After a battle Joan wanders off by herself, which in and of itself seemed highly unlikely since they never left the Maid unprotected without a guard. She hears something odd and wanders to a barn where Baron Gilles de Rais is there with a dismembered child. She leaves without saying anything to anyone? I thought maybe the child was killed in the battle, but sadly this was not the case. After doing some further research, I learned that de Rais was a monstrous child murderer thought to be responsible for over 100 children's death and was eventually hanged. It is just hard to get past this addition to the novel and impossible to believe that Joan witnessed this atrocity and did nothing.

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