Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross is the story of a woman, who, disguised as a man, rises to highest position in the Catholic Church. It is a novel, since the existence of Pope Joan is denied by the Catholic Church. However, this serves to make the book more interesting, since the author can fill in dramatic details. Joan’s downfall is sort of obvious and disappointing, but is apparently found in historical sources. The misogyny and brutality of the time (ninth century) is rather horrifying, but is accurate to the time period. Recommended.
Review Submitted by: Rebecca Thayer