February 1, 2013 by Reader's Connection
The range of literature about the life of Joan of Arc reaches far and wide, and tends to be highly academic. I recently discovered a more accessible volume, The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc, and found it to be an incredibly engaging story (at less than 300 pages!). Author Kimberly Cutter, while sparing the reader some (but not all) of the brutality of 15th century France, presents historical fiction on a fascinating yet manageable scale.
Cutter’s interpretation of Joan’s incredible story involves the dichotomies of fear vs. courage, vision vs. insanity, leadership vs. corruption. In her time, the villages of northern France were under siege for more than 60 years as the English attempted to take over their land. A simple yet highly devout peasant girl from the region of Lorraine began to hear the voices of St. Catherine, St. Margaret, and the Archangel Michael, telling her that she must become the one who raises an army and drives the barbaric invaders out of France. She accepts the challenge and becomes the leader – and champion – of thousands.
While the veracity of her visions can never be proven, Joan of Arc was recognized as a Saint in 1920, more than 400 years following her death. Her strength, single-mindedness, and courage are truly awe-inspiring: I can’t help but wonder if there might be heroes like her on earth today.
The Maid is also available as a downloadable e-book.
Thanks to Susanne for this post.