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The Maid
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message 1: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29878 comments Discussion Thread for The Maid.


Snoozie Suzie (SnoozieSuzie) | 937 comments Just collected this one too


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Pragya  (reviewingshelf) | 3203 comments Just bought it, hope to read it this month, although the pile is building up.


Snoozie Suzie (SnoozieSuzie) | 937 comments My pile seems to grow as quickly as I can read!


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I've got this one on the list for this month. I have a different edition from that pictured. Unfortunately, it's not an edition option on here, but can be found at amazon (not sure if link will work, but try it anyway http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Maid-eboo... )

Instead of a woman in armour, it's vertically divided in two with the left half being a back view of a young girl from just above waist to knee, wearing a white dress and with a red sash. In her right hand, which is behind her back, is a sword with a red hilt, facing downwards. Rather like a young girl hiding it behind her back, certainly not in an "I'm about to use this" stance. Right hand half is a landscape, green lower 3/4, white sky top, band of brown indistinct fighting going on between the two.

So a very different look and feel to the standard Joan image. It looks like a much more vulnerable image.


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Pragya  (reviewingshelf) | 3203 comments I have started reading this book, currently 40% on my Kindle and really liking it so far.


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Kat (KatZombie) | 2478 comments Helen wrote: "I've got this one on the list for this month. I have a different edition from that pictured. Unfortunately, it's not an edition option on here, but can be found at amazon (not sure if link will wo..."

I really like that cover, Helen. It certainly gives a feeling of vulnerability, but also a little bit of determination too.


Janet Killips | 43 comments I have just started this on Audiobook. I am looking forward to learning more about Joan of Arc.


Snoozie Suzie (SnoozieSuzie) | 937 comments Helen, that's the edition I have too.

I have literally just opened my copy to start it today.


message 10: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 194 comments Started the Maid and the Queen last night. I'm a little disappointed because I thought it was a novel. It seems like it will be a fast read and I do like history books.


Snoozie Suzie (SnoozieSuzie) | 937 comments How is everyone finding this book? I am learning a lot, but I can't say I'm loving the book. I'm assuming the book is based on events that took place (history is not my forte) but the rest is fiction?

What do you think about Archangel Michael talking to her? And God? The way she says about the voices she hears in her head makes her sound like a schizophrenic. If someone truly believes they have a calling whatever the calling may be would they believe it so much as to think like this - hearing voices, having dreams, etc? I think this is possible that someone can believe that much their mind can do this, but that also people can take this too far and that when they become 'mad'.

What do you think about the disbelievers? That they exorcised her? Even though it had been previously foretold? I think I would be likely to not believe it, as I like proof of things.


Snoozie Suzie (SnoozieSuzie) | 937 comments I just finished this today. I didn't overly like it - the characters were too unfriendly! I thought saints were supposed to be, well, saintly. Joan was a bit too bloodthirsty in my mind to be saintly.


message 13: by Lori (new) - rated it 1 star

Lori (GlitzyRebel) | 398 comments I just started the book this evening. The first thing I wondered upon hearing about the voices of Michael the Archangel, St.Catherine and St. Margaret was the possibility of the fungal contamination that produces effects like LSD. ?? I don't suppose anyone will ever really know but it certainly would account for the "voices". The bells throughout her body...the tiny bells in her fingertips...these are God, too! Very strange.......


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I finished this one at the weekend, and I'm not sure I liked it very much. I struggled to work out who the narrator was - I came to the conclusion that it was Joan herself, with the sections in italics being almost an aside to the chronicler, said, if you like, with the benefit of hindsight.

Having read it close on the heels of Twain's version, which is more hagiography than history, this was, if anything, almost too far the other way. She was a more believable human being, but not necessarily a very nice one. I know that life in the middle ages was typically nasty, brutish & short, but even so, the place seemed to be populated by not very nice people.

The voices were interesting. Regardless of if she had them or not, the people believed she had and that she was sent by god to save France. And history does show that her appearance was a real turning point for France in the 100 years war. I was particularly intrigued by the suggestion that they'd not appeared for a period after she'd crowned the king, but she went ahead and fought even without that impetus. it's fiction, we can't know, but it does make you wonder if she'd lost what ever it was that had been such a positive influence on her in the early battles.


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Judy (patchworkcat) | 5750 comments Lori wrote: "I just started the book this evening. The first thing I wondered upon hearing about the voices of Michael the Archangel, St.Catherine and St. Margaret was the possibility of the fungal contaminatio..."

Interesting thought, Lori, about the fungi.


message 16: by Connie (Ava Catherine) (last edited Sep 21, 2012 05:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Connie (Ava Catherine) | 4258 comments I am only half-way through this book, but emotionally it is a more difficult read for me than The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc because of the abusive treatment Joan receives at the beginning of the book. Although this is historical fiction, we can easily assume that Joan was greeted with disbelief and jokes when she tried to explain her mission. Her home life is more clearly described in this book, and the harshness of her father's treatment is difficult to fathom. However, it is medieval France, and life for peasants was harsh.
I am not sure how I feel about the saints and the Archangel Michael appearing to Joan. We accept it as a tenet of the Christian faith that the Archangel Michael appeared to the Virgin Mary and spoke to her. Maybe we should have more faith that Joan was in God's grace. It is a mystery, but there had to have been a reason that seasoned warriors followed a teenage girl into battle. I agree with Helen that regardless of whether she really heard the voices or not, the French people had to believe in her. She never stopped believing in her cause and that she was an instrument of God.


Connie (Ava Catherine) | 4258 comments Lori wrote: "I just started the book this evening. The first thing I wondered upon hearing about the voices of Michael the Archangel, St.Catherine and St. Margaret was the possibility of the fungal contaminatio..."

Sometimes there are simple explanations for things that happen. It is an interesting concept.


Connie (Ava Catherine) | 4258 comments One thing that strikes me as being different about this book is how it deals with Joan's virginity. This is the first book I have read where Joan is tempted to have sex and actually fell in love but knew it was forbidden. This adds an interesting twist to the narrative.


message 19: by Lori (last edited Sep 21, 2012 05:02PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Lori (GlitzyRebel) | 398 comments An angel, Gabriel, was sent to Zechariah and Mary to announce the good news regarding the respective births of John the Baptist and Jesus. But, by the time of Joan, the method of God speaking to his people was no longer via angels or prophets. See Hebrews 1, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through prophets......"

Joan also thought she was having sex with God and Michael, the archangel....and I'm assuming by the wording she was of the mindset that Michael, the archangel and God were one in the same. (Hebrews 1 declares that no angel has ever been called God.) Even Mary, who gave birth to the son of God, never had sex with God.

I don't know what the source of Joan's vision, experiences, were but with what I know about the Bible I am convinced her source was not God. I will not deny that she was not completely convinced that it was!!!

It is an interesting read!!!


message 20: by Connie (Ava Catherine) (last edited Sep 21, 2012 09:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Connie (Ava Catherine) | 4258 comments Lori wrote: "An angel, Gabriel, was sent to Zechariah and Mary to announce the good news regarding the respective births of John the Baptist and Jesus. But, by the time of Joan, the method of God speaking to hi..."

Thank you for the correction, Lori. I do remember it being Gabriel now. That is the wonderful thing about group discussions...learning so much from each other.


message 21: by Lori (new) - rated it 1 star

Lori (GlitzyRebel) | 398 comments It's interesting to see how the same book can have so many facets. We each read the book from our own perspective because we have all had different experiences in life. All the different things we have been exposed to, the joys, the sorrows, they combine to create a unique reading experience as well.


jaxnsmom | 8146 comments What I liked about this book was how it dealt with Joan's humanity, her devout belief and doubts, her fears and acceptance, the temptation of love, and her despair and frustrations when dealing with the King. Her upbringing prepared her for her destiny, she found her strength in her survival. I knew the basics, young girl hears voices, leads France to victory, and is burned at the stake, but this made Joan into a real person, much more than just the facts.


jaxnsmom | 8146 comments Here are the reading guide questions I found for The Maid:

1.How does Jehanne's faith evolve? How do others view her faith? How did you?

2.Could Jehanne have performed such feats today as she did then? Are there contemporary equivalents? If someone came to you today and told you she was hearing voices, what would you do? Would you believe her, or commit her? Would it make a difference if that person were a person of faith, either Catholic or Muslim or Jewish?

3.Look at the instances in which Jehanne performs violent acts. How are these portrayed? Do you believe Jehanne killed in battle, as The Maid suggests? "'You miraculous creature, you've done it.' 'God did it,' Jehanne said, thinking of the dead man with the knife in his throat. Thinking, But who did that? Did He or did I?" (p. 209). Is it possible to kill and still be pure, a saint? What absolves Jehanne of those murders, if so?

4.Why are the men's clothing and the suit of armor so important to Jehanne? How does she transform according to what she has on? How does clothing define us?

5."You think there's such a thing as a good war, a justified war? You think there's such a thing as honest blood?" (p. 266). Does Jehanne believe there is? Do you? Compare the war Jehanne fought to the wars ongoing today. Are there any similarities?

6.Why do the voices desert Jehanne? What sort of doubt does Jehanne struggle with and why do you think she had to go through that? Did Jehanne ever err in her faith or her responsibilities? Were these human fallibilities? What elevated her to sainthood?

7.Jehanne was burned at the stake, the townspeople shouting, "Witch!" What is the fine line between being a witch and a saint? How does that tie into Jehanne's doubt later in the novel? Consider also the many other stories of witch trials and how they were similar to or different than Jehanne's trial.

8.Why is it so important that Jehanne remain a virgin? Was she? Does it matter?

9.Did Jehanne really hear voices or was she mentally ill? What do you think? What does the author believe?

10.How is the Joan of Arc portrayed in The Maid different or similar to the Joan of Arc you knew before reading the novel? What did you learn? What makes Kimberly Cutter's version of events unique? Can you learn more from a novel than you can from a biography? What liberties does the novelist have in situations like this?



jaxnsmom | 8146 comments I find it interesting that many people are more focused on 'did she really hear voices' instead of what Joan accomplished. As far as the voices, I don't think they can be easily dismissed as mental or physical illness. After all, the things the voices told her were true. Those messages guided her on how to win the battles, and told her of her death.

2.Could Jehanne have performed such feats today as she did then? Are there contemporary equivalents? If someone came to you today and told you she was hearing voices, what would you do? Would you believe her, or commit her? Would it make a difference if that person were a person of faith, either Catholic or Muslim or Jewish?

I hate to think it, but it seems the only way a modern day Joan of Arc could exist is in extremist groups, or where the situation is so desperate that the people need a hero or savior. Muslim extremists would believe in a Joan of Arc, although they would have to be male. The link below is about a woman compared to Joan. Neither of these examples would be acceptable to most of us, but to their followers, they are absolute.

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-11-2...

I think more important than the faith of the person hearing voices, would be the faith of the person being told this. If hearing voices is recognized in your faith, you would be more willing to accept it as possible.


message 25: by Connie (Ava Catherine) (last edited Sep 26, 2012 05:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Connie (Ava Catherine) | 4258 comments Looking at question 3 makes me think of the boys and men our country sends to war who must choose in some instances to kill or be killed. Does this makes our sons, fathers, brothers, husbands murderers? These are men we love and trust and describe as noble, honest men. Never would the word murderer enter our minds.
Therefore, if Joan of Arc is a warrior defending her country from an invading army, why would we consider her a murderer? I think she probably did participate in battle because she had the respect of her troops, which would not have been easily won. I am not easy in my mind as to what degree she participated, but we know she was wounded in battle several times, therefore, giving evidence to the fact that she was involved in battle. Joan felt that she was restoring the crown of France to the rightful king, whom God had anointed; therefore, her mission was sanctioned by God. When she was forced to kill someone, Joan finally came to the conclusion, after experiencing much doubt and remorse, that God would forgive her for the good of the mission. As long as Joan remained a virgin and obeyed God, she felt that she was pure. Obviously, others in the church agreed because she was confirmed as a saint.


message 26: by Lori (new) - rated it 1 star

Lori (GlitzyRebel) | 398 comments This book left me thinking Jehanne was very self-centered. Very unprophet-like. I do not doubt she heard voices. The source being God, however, I am not convinced.

She was obsessed with thoughts of men who wanted to take her virginity. She had dreams (or physical experiences) of Michael the archangel touching her in a sexual way. But the situation I found to be the strangest reaction for a "prophet of God" was the temper tantrum she threw when King Charles wouldn't follow her commands.

This is just my perception of THIS book and I'm wondering if it's just the authors presentation of the material as I have not read any other books about her.


Connie (Ava Catherine) | 4258 comments Question 4:

I find myself thinking of women and the importance of the "power suit" in the business world. Such a suit was important to women in a traditional man's world because it helped her feel powerful and capable in an arena where there were few women at the time. The suit transformed her from a feminine woman to a neutral woman, which helped her fit into the masculine world of business.
Likewise, the male clothing and armor transformed Joan from a girl into a warrior for her cause. It gave her a sense of power and commitment, and made everything she was fighting for real.
Clothes can affect how we are perceived by the world. Thus, all the dress for success books have sold thousands of copies. It may not be fair that clothing makes so much difference in how others judge us, but it does happen, and I am certain it occurred in Joan's day, too.


jaxnsmom | 8146 comments I agree Connie. Also, Joan didn't want to be seen as female, she didn't want anyone thinking of her in a sexual way. Another protection of her virginity. The androgynous look let her be listened to instead of being dismissed as a young girl.


Janet Killips | 43 comments It looks as though I wasn't the only person who thought this was a difficult book, in terms of the way the subject was dealt with. Violence is rampant throughout this story, and I know this particular time in history was violent, and women were very poorly treated, but it did seem more "in-your face" in this book. And people didn't really react to the violence with more than a simple shrug. Perhaps that was the common reaction, but it felt false.

The story was compelling, but other than wanting to see just why Joan was regarded as a saint, I am not sure why I felt compelled to finish it.

I agree, Joan was very self-centered, although was that simply the author's portrayal? She heard voices, but refused to discuss anything surrounding her voices other than the orders she fealt she recieved. In today's world, I doubt she would have been taken seriously. If she had spoken about her voices, she likely would have been carted off to the mental ward at her local hospital. I doubt she had the charisma or strength of character to be an effective leader of a religious extremist movement. However, that is simply my impression based upon this author's portrayal.


message 30: by Janet (last edited Oct 04, 2012 07:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janet Killips | 43 comments jaxnsmom wrote: "I find it interesting that many people are more focused on 'did she really hear voices' instead of what Joan accomplished. As far as the voices, I don't think they can be easily dismissed as menta..."
That is one part of the story that I did find interesting. Here was this young girl and she was able to get some people to believe that they could fight the English and win. While I don't view her as a tremendous leader, she was able to accomplish what no one else was at that time. Why, I am not sure. Perhaps it was the fact that people believed her when she said they would win. Certainly she knew she wasn't a great soldier, but there was something about her that allowed the French to believe in themselves again, and as a result to win. Perhaps if she had been able to keep the attention of the King, they might have accomplished more? I don't know.


jaxnsmom | 8146 comments I think in those times it was much more accepted that God and angels would talk to people. Religion was an integral part of life and the church had a huge influence on everyone. It was easier to believe that God was leading them through this young girl.

I agree that if the King had continued to listen to her, France could possibly have accomplished more. And Joan wouldn't have been burned at the stake. But the jealousy and fear of the power Joan had threatened the King's advisors and so she had to be discredited and gotten rid of.


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Carly Svamvour (FaganLady) | 121 comments I have two books downloaded onto my Sony Reader - one is Death With Interuptions and the other is this one - Maid.

The latter? Love it!

Death? Yadda yadda yadda - dunno' if I'll hang in there or not.


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Judy (patchworkcat) | 5750 comments What are you liking about The Maid, Carly?


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Carly Svamvour (FaganLady) | 121 comments The story moves along smoothly. I can relate to Jehanne (though I've never had what you would call 'voices').

I tend to forget that this is actually a true story, written as a fictional account.

I don't really cotton to the idea of her having sex with the Archangel, Michael though ... I could see where the line of thinking 'God is in Everyman' would come into play here. But frankly, I think the story could have done without the sex.

If she was that committed to her passion, through God and angels, I doubt she'd have much room for 'matters sexual' thoughts.

Speaking of the Archangel, Michael ... according to 'Book Aranthia', that IS God - He is EVERYTHING - everthing centres from him.

(I don't recommend trying to take that book in ... it's too much of a mind bender)


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Carly Svamvour (FaganLady) | 121 comments 2.Could Jehanne have performed such feats today as she did then? Are there contemporary equivalents? If someone came to you today and told you she was hearing voices, what would you do? Would you believe her, or commit her? Would it make a difference if that person were a person of faith, either Catholic or Muslim or Jewish?

***** There are people all over town that claim to be hearing voices. Commit them - oh yeah? They don't have room in the institutions for them. They're turning them out on the street by the hundreds.

Believe? Yes and No - I would believe the individual thought she was hearing voices, but I wouldn't believe it was coming from God.

God has no need to communicate in that way. Nor does He (or) She use a cell phone - ha ha!


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Carly Svamvour (FaganLady) | 121 comments You know what? I actually 'hear voices' at times. But I know they are merely 'refractions' that are held in my brain. No one or thing is trying to get through to me.


message 37: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29878 comments I'm glad to see that you are still discussing the book.

I think your comment about Jehanne being able to perform or sway people to her way of thinking today is an interesting question. There have been many advances in medical and psychiatric knowledges that people would likely question her sanity today.

But, we have examples in recent history of very charismatic people who have swayed people to their side. Charles Manson is one who comes to mind.


message 38: by Connie (Ava Catherine) (last edited Oct 28, 2012 09:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Connie (Ava Catherine) | 4258 comments Hitler is another, but on the positive side we have people like Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Churchill.
The evil ones are downright scary in their ability to brainwash others.


message 39: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29878 comments Connie wrote: "Hitler is another, but on the positive side we have people like Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Churchill.
The evil ones are downright scary."


Absolutely! "I have a dream..."


message 40: by Carly (new) - added it

Carly Svamvour (FaganLady) | 121 comments Beverly wrote: "Started the Maid and the Queen last night. I'm a little disappointed because I thought it was a novel. It seems like it will be a fast read and I do like history books."

I tended to forget it was real history. It comes across as pure fiction. When I closed it last night I was gasping with the thought. That people actually burned their sinners alive at any part of the world's history gobsmacks me.

The book was well written in my opinion.


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Carly Svamvour (FaganLady) | 121 comments I marked two books as being 'read' this morning. The Maid, which Jeff and I shared as our bedside read each nite - and I have to admit, as a read before our constitutional afternoon naps.

The other book was an audio - Anne Rice's 'The Wolf Gift'.

It's ironic when I think of this.

One book - The Maid - is something I tended to think of as fiction as I read through it.

The other book - The Wolf Gift, I had to keep reminding myself that vampires/wolfmen don't really exist.

Fantasy/Fiction ... maybe we should think of all the horrors of history that's been written - think of it as fantasy. It would be easier to take that way.


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Carly Svamvour (FaganLady) | 121 comments Now ... I'm going to do what I held off doing while reading The Maid - I'm gonna FlyGoogleAirlines and look for all things Joan of Arc!

Here's Wiki!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_of_Arc

That article gives a lotta stuff on the topic - links, links, links. And of course, other books!

Shall I read them? Hmmmm ... not right now. Got too many others lined up.

But I am going to take the time to follow those links this morning.


message 43: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29878 comments I sometimes think that the fictional horror doesn't even come close to the real horror that people have done to others throughout history.


Dione Sage | 11 comments I would agree with you Janice. I found this book through Libboo The Maid and I did love it but actual history is much more brutal than the fictional versions usually.


message 45: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29878 comments Hi Dione. Welcome to our group!

I just finished reading The Templar Legacy, which is fiction, but tells the history of the Knights Templar. It discusses the horror of crucifixion as well as other torture methods. I don't think we have any idea. We live in such relatively safe times.


Dione Sage | 11 comments Hi Janice, The Templar Legacy is on my "want to read list". I just have to finish a stack of books I continuously put off for most of the year. I was given a stack of Historical fiction Romance novels and up until this last month or two had put them off. But I try to squeeze in other non romance books in every chance I get.


message 47: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29878 comments Dione wrote: "Hi Janice, The Templar Legacy is on my "want to read list". I just have to finish a stack of books I continuously put off for most of the year. I was given a stack of Historical fiction Romance nov..."

The Templar Legacy is much like The Da Vinci Code. I enjoyed the history lesson of the Knights Templar.


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