Book Review: Joan by Katherine J. Chen

About the Book:

Girl. Warrior. Heretic. Saint?

France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. Yet out of the chaos, an unlikely heroine emerges.

Reckless, steel-willed and brilliant, Joan has survived a childhood steeped in both joy and violence to claim an extraordinary – and fragile – position at the head of the French army. The battlefield and the royal court are full of dangers and Joan finds herself under suspicion from all sides – as well as under threat from her own ambition.

With unforgettably vivid characters and propulsive storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, and a feminist celebration of one remarkable – and remarkably real – woman who left an indelible mark on history.

Published by Hachette Australia – Hodder & Stoughton

Released 12th July 2022

My Thoughts:

I do really love a good feminist retelling. I know that some people are hesitant when it comes to fictional retellings of the lives and doings of real people, but I’m not one of them. Particularly when it is someone as legendary as Joan of Arc, I was nothing but filled with anticipation for this novel and it more than lived up to my own personal expectations.

‘Head up. Shoulders back. Your heart may be breaking, but you don’t let it show, not on your face or in your eyes. You walk with a spring in your step toward a destination yet unknown.’

There is so much research that has gone into this novel that is evident throughout the story. Not just on Joan herself, but also on the political, religious, and social history of the era. I felt immersed into both the period and the location, and subsequently, became highly invested in the story. It’s also written beautifully, told from Joan’s perspective, yet all encompassing. This retelling of Joan of Arc is how I’d like to think she actually was: a flesh and blood woman, courageous, driven by a multitude of motivations. Bravo, five stars for a brilliant read. I laughed, cried, and felt so much all the way through. Highly recommended.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Joan by Katherine J. Chen

  1. I love the book and am almost finished. Going into the Historical fiction I knew very little about Joan of Arc but am now compelled to know more. The writing is very thoughtful and engaging -especially the scenes with the long bow. Chen did her research on the long bow mechanics . Great read!

    Liked by 1 person

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