Rebecca's Reviews > Pope Joan

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
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Aug 04, 12

Read in August, 2012

I picked up this book as a infrequent jaunt into historical fiction. Many of the historicals tend to either romanticize the past or treat it in such a way as to leave me wondering how in the world the human race endured. Thankfully, this was a story that tended to Sucessfully walk the line of upbeat/downbeat. The beginning was saturated with the brutality heaped upon women. And not just men upon women, but powerful women threatened by a lesser female. The level of betrayal exhibited by "esteemed" members of society was vile but not so over the top that I couldn't see it being done. What was a little harder to believe was a woman being a lone survivor of a bloody raid by hiding in a closet and a lone young person, women or boy the age of early teens traveling alone and not being killed or enslaved.

With a number of events that truly required a suspension of belief but even made me stop, totally thrown out of the story and then uncomfortable as the story continued unresolved even unto the end, I did finish it. I was left feeling distressed at the ending feeling like, why did I bother, but then to be left with wiley bad boys left to scheme and manipulate while another woman is seen growing up deciding to reject her feminine self in pursuit of greater freedom as a man. I closed my book shaking my head and again wondering, how in the world did the human race survive that level of ignorance. I can only say that I am glad to be reminded to be aware of what I sacrifice for what I desire, the price may be higher than I realize.

A truly historical piece on a story that is still vehemently debated by the scholars. I leave you to your own decision as to the truth behind the myth.
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