Pope Joan: A Review

popejoanPope Joan is a fictional history about a possibly real person. It was written by Donna Woolfolk Cross and is a marvelously fascinating novel. I’m sorry that it sat on my shelf for so long unread.

Scholars are unsure as to whether or not a female pope ever existed. The time period in which it could have happened was probably the darkest part of the Dark Ages. Records were sparsely kept, and if there ever were such a woman who deceived her way into pope-dom, the concrete evidence has been destroyed (though the author gives a nice argument as to Joan’s existence in the Author’s Note after the story). In this novel, Cross gives a fictional account of Joan’s life, from a troubled birth, childhood and education; to taking on her slain brother’s name (John) and leading a tempestuous and shrouded life as a monk and a healer; to eventually being elected pope.

It is a captivating story of over-coming adversity, passion, determination, and love. There is also just enough suspense to keep the reader fully engaged and turning the pages at a quickened pace. I recommend it to any fan of history, feminism, or quality literature.

5/5 Stars


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s