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Pope Joan
by Donna Woolfolk Cross
Legend has it that in the ninth century Pope John, after a two-year reign, was suddenly exposed to be a woman, Pope Joan. In modern times many dismiss the story as a myth... but some still believe it is based on truth. How and why could a woman disguise herself in this way and rise to the ultimate power of the Papal throne? In this historical novel, the author has given life to the story and created a remarkable heroine who is able to overcome numerous obstacles in the male dominated and religiously zealous world in which she lived.

Discussion Starter: Do you think there really was a Pope Joan? According to the author, Joan's story was universally known and accepted until the seventeenth century. Why do you think that changed? Why do you think medieval society considered it unnatural and a sin for women to educate themselves or be educated?

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Book Venue's Reader Reviews:

Reviewer: Sharon
I enjoyed this book... the combination of a good fiction laced with all sorts of fascinating historical facts made it a winner with me! In this story you follow Joan from her humble beginnings to her ultimate destiny...to become pope. Although parts of the story seem a little too coincidental, I still found it to be a good read. And I especially enjoyed the author's note, in which the author clarifies which parts of the story are based on fact. This is something that always nags at me when I read historical fiction, and it was very nice to have some of my questions answered directly after reading the story.

If you have read it, please vote!

(1 star) Don't bother.
(2 stars) Good enough to finish.
(3 stars) It was okay...
(4 stars) I liked it!
(5 stars) Great! I recommend it.


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About the Legend of Pope Joan

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Further Reading Suggestions:
If you would like to find out more about the legend of Pope Joan try these titles:

The Legend of Pope Joan: In Search of the Truth by Peter Stanford

[U.S.] [Canada] [UK]

The Myth of Pope Joan by Alain Boureau, Lydia G. Cochrane (Translator)

[U.S.] [Canada] [UK]

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