Review of Kimberly Cutter’s The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

“…for she knew very well that she was not God, knew that people were worshipping nothing but a lamp in which God had chosen to burn for a short time, and she tried to tell them this many times, but they would not listen to her, they did not want to hear.”

This “lamp of God” was Joan of Arc (Joan d’Arc) now known as St Joan of Arc, patron saint of soldiers, France, prisoners, and martrys. And in a well researched and closely factual historical novel, being published by Houghton, Mifflin, and Harcourt, entitled The Maid, Kimberly Cutter re-introduces Joan to us in an emotionally intense and stream-of-consciousness novel. The novel is written from Joan’s point of view as she shares her story from within her cell in the final days before her death at the stake in May 1431.

Cutter does a wonderful job of taking a well known figure and a fairly well known story of history and weaves a tale of power, intrigue, and faith. In many ways, it is a story that is very much contemporary today because it is human, and divine, story in which hope and faith are very important to people. Key to Cutter’s telling the tale of this legendary saint, is the deep and passionate faith that drove Joan to her acts of heroism, inspiration, and, according to some, foolhardiness on the battlefield.

The Maid makes effective use of internal dialogue as she describes the intense visions Joan experienced that guided her decisions to follow God’s direction for the liberation of France. Likewise effective is her rich and, at times, graphic narrative of the battlefield scenes and the emotional intensity which Joan experiences as a soldier, a person of faith, and a woman.

A thematic treatment of faith is evenly presented as well. Cutter shows faith in a way that makes it clear that people of deep faith are often mistreated and misunderstood and yet also seen as sources of great inspiration to help others to rise about their current circumstances.

On my rating scale of 1 to 5 with one being poor, 3 being okay, and 5 being great I rate this novel a “5,” a great read! Suitable for High School juniors and seniors and up.

This book was reviewed as part of the Amazon Vine review program. In exchange for a free advance copy of the book, I was required to write a review that did not have to be a positive review.

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