Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Intelligent, young Joan rebels against medieval social structures that forbid women to learn. When her brother is brutally killed during a viking attack, Joan takes up his cloak and identity and enters a monastry, where her intelligence, wisdom, compassion and healing powers become well- known. Eventually she ascends the ranks and becomes the first (undiscovered female) pope.

The story is rife with history, it is well researched and set in a medival period, which gives us a vivid imagery of the historical climate at the time. The protagonist, Joan is a very likable character and if your a female reading it, you kind of get a feminist thill that she is an intelligent woman rising in a male- dominated profession in a male- dominated world (even though they do not know she is a female). Also it is so refreshing to read about a female protagonist, in an historical period, being intelligent, independent, resourceful and basically not constantly relying on men.

According to the blurb of this novel Pope Joan may have actually be a true story, as it is supposedly a legend that it is related in historical documents, which is what Cross based the novel on. Wow! It’s amazing to think that a women could have actually fooled everyone into thinking she was a man and had served as the Pope.  

This book did not get boring for me, in fact I could not put it down and finnished it all in one day (which says alot since it usually takes me about three days to finnish a book). I found Pope Joan really intresting. I loved the character, the setting- which the author makes familiar and I also liked the fact that the author added dimesions to the protagonists and included a kind of romance into the mix where Joan finds love but also becomes driven by power.

Overall I reccommend this novel it is a great read, as it is lightly written but also intelligent, fast-paced and very entertaining. Enjoy:)

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