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I wanted to enjoy this book, as Joan of Arc is a fascinating historical figure, whether you believed her visions truly came from God or not - but I felt as though this book never quite got going. Whether that is because of its relatively short length, the lack of any real academic weight or the quite obvious religious feeling of the author, but I felt as though I were reading the author's personal polemic on the life of Joan of Arc, rather than the historical biography I had been hoping for.

The author states that he drew on recently discovered documents pertaining to Joan's life and trial, but none of the references are footnoted or clearly explained, and many of the supposed quotes from the trial are quite clearly not only translated from French into England, but from the medieval parlance into more 'modern' language. Spoto draws a very engaging and poignant portrait of this remarkable nineteen-year-old, but it never feels authentic. It reads and feels very much like a fictional biography.

On the whole, I was disappointed. I was looking for a historical biography of an intriguing medieval figure, and I got an almost literal hagiography.
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on 6 June 2016
Excellent read, a very clear and concise history of a mystery and brave young woman
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