My rating: 4 of 5 stars
She won't submit. That's why she must be killed. Won't submit to the Church, won't let them judge her revelations, won't accept the Church as her authority, won't abide by its rules. "God must first be served," she said, and this was the heart of it, the thing that drove them mad. The audacity. The gall. If a filthy peasant girl can talk to God, can receive divine wisdom, who needs the Church? - The Maid by Kimberly Cutter
In 15th Century France, during the 100 years war, a peasant girl from Lorraine, following instructions from God, leads the French army to win a series of significant battles against the English. Later betrayed by her King, she falls into the hands of the English and is made to stand trial for witchcraft, of which she is found guilty and sentenced to death.
Kimberly Cutter's novel The Maid tells the life story of this amazing peasant girl from Lorraine, who went on to crown a king and become the legend that is Saint Joan of Arc (Jehanne D'Arc).
I enjoyed this novel immensely, even though I could not relate to Jehanne at all: It is difficult to understand her devotion, motivation and determination. But Jehanne is not dislikable, it's simply that she is unrelatable - She who taught herself to fight and then went into battle, over and over again, sword at the ready, standard held high, knowing that she could and would eventually die, all for the will of God. How can anyone possibly relate to that?
The Maid is filled with fascinating historic detail, particularly of Jehanne's battles, and it is clear that Cutter has researched Jehanne's life and achievements extensively in order to complete this novel. Even those parts of the story where Cutter has taken artistic licence connect effortlessly with the facts, making the story as a whole seem plausible and believable.
Recommended to fans of historical fiction, particularly medieval, and anyone who enjoys a good story but doesn't mind descriptions of war.
**Received as an ARC through NetGalley. Many thanks to the author and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this novel.