Joan: Book summary and reviews of Joan by Katherine J. Chen

Joan

A Novel of Joan of Arc

by Katherine J. Chen

Joan by Katherine J. Chen X
Joan by Katherine J. Chen
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About this book

Book Summary

Girl. Warrior. Heretic. Saint? From the acclaimed author of Mary B comes a stunning, secular reimagining of the epic life of Joan of Arc.

1412. France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. From this chaos emerges a teenage girl who will turn the tide of battle and lead the French to victory, becoming an unlikely hero whose name will echo across the centuries.

In Katherine J. Chen's hands, the myth and legend of Joan of Arc is transformed into a flesh-and-blood young woman: reckless, steel-willed, and brilliant. This meticulously researched novel is a sweeping narrative of her life, from a childhood steeped in both joy and violence, to her meteoric rise to fame at the head of the French army, where she navigates the perils of the battlefield and the equally treacherous politics of the royal court. Many are threatened by a woman who leads, and Joan draws wrath and suspicion from all corners, while her first taste of fame and glory leaves her vulnerable to her own powerful ambition.

With unforgettably vivid characters, transporting settings, and action-packed storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, as well as a feminist celebration of one remarkable—and remarkably real—woman who left an indelible mark on history.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The author of Mary B (2018) eschews hagiography in this very human portrait of Joan of Arc...Making her real requires imagination and empathy, and Chen brings both to the task of putting solid flesh on the charred bones of a legendary figure...An elegant and engaging work of historical fiction." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Revolutionary...Chen masterfully transforms the two-dimensional martyr into a multifaceted woman and warrior." - Booklist (starred review)

"[A] smartly written rendition of the life of Joan of Arc...While some readers may question Chen's reimagining of Joan's character, she does a wonderful job depicting Joan's soldier mentality and fierce heart. Like the passionate protagonist, this is a force to be reckoned with." - Publishers Weekly

"This story is meticulously researched and skillfully told. In Katherine J. Chen's capable hands, Joan becomes fully flesh and achingly real." - Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Friends

"In Chen's transporting prose, you will meet a towering new Joan of Arc, one of amazing physical strength, kindness, loyalty, and endurance." - Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times bestselling author of Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance

"An epic novel with the mythic power of a fairy tale...gripping, resonant, and illuminating." - Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles

This information about Joan was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Katherine J. Chen

Katherine J. Chen is the author of the novel Mary B. Her work has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, and the historical fiction anthology Stories from Suffragette City. She received her MFA from Boston University, where she was a senior teaching fellow and awarded the Florence Engel Randall Fiction Prize.

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