Monday, August 27, 2012

The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc

Nancy Goldstone tells the whole story of Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years War. Rich with details, the reader is given extreme insight into the fight for France's Crown. Going back years before Joan takes up the fight, the book steeps readers in French dynastic relationships and court life, especially related to the Armagnac and Burgundian Parties. Enter Yolande of Aragon, daughter of a king, wife of another. As mother-in-law to the current and disinherited Dauphin, it is in Yolande's best interest to see Charles crowned. Using her political astuteness, her spies and money, Yolande works to elevate Charles, who sees her as his mother. When the fight for France is at it's bleakest, a girl emerges from Yolande's territories, answering the Dauphin's prayers. A maid with visions telling of France's victory and Charles' crowning. Joan encourages not only France's people, but Charles himself. Joan's victories save France, but doom herself.

This book wonderfully explains the two women with one goal to save France. I loved how Goldstone's unbiased attitude allows the reader to determine their own views of these two powerful woman, especially Joan. Goldstone also breaks down the complex relationships and "mere coincidences" making the years leading to Joan's arrival easy to understand.

Though packed with historical events and characters, once established, this book reads fairly quickly and easily. This book taught be a lot about the 100 Years War.The beautiful Artwork scattered through out the book is like icing on the cake.


  1. It's been a while since I've read a historical ficiton novel, not to mention a *good* one. And since I'm criminally oblivious to Joan of Arc's life, I should totally pick this up.

  2. This sounds terrific! Her "Four Queens" inspired me to write my novel. I will definitely read this!

  3. I really want to read this book. I think a historical fiction about Joan of Arc would be fascinating!