Kimberly Cutter's debut novel is a gritty, absorbing exploration of the life of Joan of Arc.
As Cutter explains in her afterword, Joan of Arc is one of the most written about women in history, yet I'm not aware of any that capture the essence of Joan's journey the way Cutter does.
The novel follows Joan's life closely, and Cutter often uses phrases from Joan's actual conversations and correspondence in her dialogue. Despite its accuracy and the adherence to the historical record, this delightful novel is very much fiction, taking the reader into the heart and mind of one of history's most fascinating women.
Cutter's success in creating a believable Joan of Arc begins with her ability to illustrate the setting. The novel's palette is muddy brown and dingy gray. Joan begins life on a dreary farm that is occasionally punctuated by the brilliance of a...
Beyond the Book
Joan of Arc's successes on the battlefield helped to end the series of battles known today as the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453). Essentially, the series of battles were dynastic conflicts between the Plantagenets in England and the Valois in France. In the 1330s, both Houses claimed rights to the vacant French throne, but these claims were preceded by a long, twisted relationship between England and France.
It all started when William the Conqueror claimed the English throne in 1066. Because he came from France and was a vassal of the French king, William technically owed allegiance to the French...