It is the fifteenth century and the tumultuous Hundred Years War rages on. France is under siege, English soldiers tear through the countryside destroying all who cross their path, and Charles VII, the uncrowned king, has neither the strength nor the will to rally his army. And in the quiet of her parents’ garden in Lorraine, a peasant girl sees a spangle of light and hears a powerful voice speak her name. Jehanne.
The story of Jehanne d'Arc, the visionary and saint who believed she had been chosen by God, who led an army and saved her country, has captivated our imagination for centuries. But the story of Jeanne - the girl - whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from a violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride and fight, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to convince first one, then two, then thousands to follow her, is at once thrilling, unexpected and heart-breaking. Rich with unspoken love and battlefield valor, The Maid is a novel about the power and uncertainty of faith, and the exhilarating and devastating consequences of fame. My Thoughts: This book was provided to me by NetGalley for review. I went into this book thinking that I would really enjoy it but unfortunately, I didn’t. I really had to push myself to finish it and when I got to the end, I was more relieved than anything. I think Joan of Arc is a really interesting historical figure and I know that the author agrees (from reading her note at the end) but I felt like the author’s feelings about Joan of Arc did not come through in the story. The way the voices were portrayed seemed more like delusions than saints and God speaking and I just kept thinking that the character of Jehanne (Joan) seemed more crazy than blessed. It got worse too when her army and the king stopped caring about what Jehanne had to say; at the point she really did seem like she had some mental health issues. The way the voices spoke to her and what they said came off as something a schizophrenic might hear in their head and it just made the book hard to read. The story was really slow going and I didn’t care about any of the characters. Even when I know how a story is going to end, if the plot and characters are exciting I usually stay pretty engaged but I just wound up being really disappointed in this book. 2 stars.