Joan by Katherine J. Chen

Published: 2022 Hachette | Penguin Random House Genre: Historical fiction

This is a reimagining of the life of Joan of Arc, patron saint of France, born about 1412, convicted of heresy and burnt at the stake in 1431.

“I can never die.”

A brilliant exploration of how an otherworldly peasant girl became a leader of violent men and a national icon.” (Guardian) As The AU Review states, it’s a “fascinating literary character study.” The author has written a very believable novel that realistically portrays Joan not as a saint but as an extraordinarily strong (physically and mentally) young woman. Kirkus: “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. The Joan we meet here is not a saint.


“It is the hour of sunset, and the Dauphin is waiting by the river Vienne, the water shining like a basin of melted gold, the sky a ceiling vaulted with pink and blue clouds.”

“The world has changed, but it will startle you what can endure the passage of time, the worst of plagues, and the worst of wars.”

Images: Sword: Wikimedia Fleu de Lis: Rawpixel

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