Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
Recommended by Cheryl Cosart
Branch Manager, Santee Branch
The history of the Catholic Papacy is threaded with its share of mysteries and conspiracies. The legend of a medieval female Pope persists and is given life in this dramatic novel by American writer Donna Woolfolk Cross. Born in 9th century Europe, Joan is a highly intelligent girl envious of men’s opportunities for education and adventure. With the violent death of her older brother, Joan takes up his identity and place in college eventually to make a name for herself as a church scholar. Joan balances her secrets and ambitions as she navigates the bloody waters of church politics to attain the highest position in Christendom.
Set during the brutal events of the Battle of Fontenoy and the Saracen sacking of St Peter’s, Pope Joan is a compelling tale of a visionary woman determined to play a larger role in the world. This book is a thoughtful, well-written addition to the female pope mythos.