The maid: a novel of Joan of Arc – Kimberly Cutter

The story

The peasant girl who drove out the English and saved France.

The peasant girl who drove out the English and saved France.

Go little one. Go save France from the Goddons.” Jehanne D’arc is 12 when she hears her voices for the first time. Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret appear before her with a mission from God. She has to save France. She, a peasant girl from Domrémy has to release France from the Goddons and crown the Dauphine.

The Hundred years’ war is at is height. With an insane king on the throne, France is weak and as good as conquered by the English and their warrior king Henry V. When the French lose the battle of Agincourt, everything seems lost. Queen Isabeau disinherits her son Charles, claiming he is a bastard. Henry V will be the next king.

In Domrémy, Jehanne’s voices are getting stronger. They urge her to go Chinon, where the Royal French court is. She persuades family friend Durand Lassois to take her Vaucouleurs, where she petitiones Robert de Baudricourt for permission to travel to Chinon.

After months of waiting, he finally escorts her to Chinon, where she finally meets the Dauphine. She persuades him to give her an army so she can release Orleans from the English siege.

To everyone’s suprise, she succeeds in her mission. But soon, wheel of fortunes turn on her and Charles abandons her. She is captured by the Burgundians and is sold to the English, who are more than happy to prove she is send from the Devil. It is an end to her adventure, but the beginning of her legend.

My opinion

I really liked this novel! Joan’s story has been told so often, it is hard to be creative and not retelling the same old story. But Cutter did a fantastic job reinventing Saint Joan. Cutter’s writing is compelling and pulls you into the story and I never had the feeling I was reading another account of her life.

The thing I liked the most about this novel, is the thin line between Jehanne’s believe she is carrying out God’s mission, and her blood thirst and willful pride. It makes the story interesting, it gives her character dimension and makes her feel human. The second thing I liked about this novel, is the vivid recreation of her visions and how lonely she feels without them. I almost cried when Saint Michael tells her she has only one year left. That she will never have children, even though she didn’t want that life.

A novel passes my test when I feel I am the character and I really felt like I was Jehanne. I felt her passion for her religion, I felt her pride when she was riding in her amour and I felt her rage when the Dauphine refuses to help her to take back Paris. But most of all, I felt her desperation when her voices were fading and she felt like she was all alone.

It’s a gripping story and I plan to reread it in a few months. So definitely buy that book!

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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Pages: 280

 

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