Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc by Katherine J Chen – #BookReview – #medievalhistoricalfiction

Joan by Katherine J Chen

Book Blurb:

Girl. Warrior. Heretic. Saint? From the acclaimed author of Mary B comes a stunning, secular reimagining of the epic life of Joan of Arc.

Joan by Katherine J Chen1412. France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. From this chaos emerges a teenage girl who will turn the tide of battle and lead the French to victory, becoming an unlikely hero whose name will echo across the centuries.

In Katherine J. Chen’s hands, the myth and legend of Joan of Arc is transformed into a flesh-and-blood young woman: reckless, steel-willed, and brilliant. This meticulously researched novel is a sweeping narrative of her life, from a childhood steeped in both joy and violence, to her meteoric rise to fame at the head of the French army, where she navigates the perils of the battlefield and the equally treacherous politics of the royal court. Many are threatened by a woman who leads, and Joan draws wrath and suspicion from all corners, while her first taste of fame and glory leaves her vulnerable to her own powerful ambition.

With unforgettably vivid characters, transporting settings, and action-packed storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, as well as a feminist celebration of one remarkable—and remarkably real—woman who left an indelible mark on history.

His Review:

Jacque de Arc did not like his daughter. She was tall and gangly and he thrashed her whenever he got the chance. As she grew older she became unmanageable and someone who gave as good as she got. The death of her brother and older sister sent her into a life of revenge against her father.

Joan by Katherine J ChenWar in France is divided between many factions including the Burgundians, the Dauphine, John the Fearless, the English and others. Joan knows she is a child of God and attends mass two or three times a day. Her father has no use for her. The Dauphine who is the rightful heir to the throne is being hunted by his uncles and others aspiring to the throne and is in constant danger. France is fighting England as well as civil war throughout the kingdom. Charles the VII of France, the Dauphine and rightful heir to the throne of France, is protected by Joan.

The Dauphine seems unable to take care of himself and is not ready to take his throne. His uncles and relatives would like to eliminate him and rightfully become the king of France. Joan protects the Dauphine and leads armies into battle against the British and those who want to control the country. The king, under her protection, gains cities on his way to Paris. The population feels that Joan must be a witch or worse! Her victories are thought to be the work of the devil.

Charles becomes disillusioned with Joan and begins to fear his best ally. He puts her in prison after they captured Reims and are near the gates of Paris but wary of her becoming too powerful releases her again to man inadequate armies to continue regaining control of France (and to die in battle). The church also has trepidations regarding Joan’s success and begins to plan her overthrow and burn her at the stake.

Ms. Chen has written a very convincing tale of the plight of “The Maid of Orleans.” Anyone associated with King Charles and so many victories must be suspect! She is ultimately burned at the stake because of the suspicion of her being an instrument of the devil. France is free under Charles the VII but Joan is executed.

This is a well-written tale of the life and times of Joan of Arc. I strongly recommend it to history buffs and those who enjoy medieval novels. 4.5 stars

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Medieval Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: ‎ 1984855808
ASIN: B09HTKVV9P
Print Length: 353 pages
Publication Date: July 5, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc [Amazon]

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The Author: No bio included on either Amazon or Goodreads.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Landscape of a Marriage: Central Park Was Only the Beginning by Gail Ward Olmsted – #BookReview – #biographicalfiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward OlmstedA marriage of convenience leads to a life of passion and purpose. A shared vision transforms the American landscape forever.

New York, 1858: Mary, a young widow with three children, agrees to marry her brother-in-law Frederick Law Olmsted, who is acting on his late brother’s deathbed plea to “not let Mary suffer.” But she craves more than a marriage of convenience and sets out to win her husband’s love. Beginning with Central Park in New York City, Mary joins Fred on his quest to create a ‘beating green heart’ in the center of every urban space.

Over the next 40 years, Fred is inspired to create dozens of city parks, private estates and public spaces with Mary at his side. Based upon real people and true events, this is the story of Mary’s journey and personal growth and the challenges inherent in loving a brilliant and ambitious man.

His Review:

Fredrick Law Olmstead is arguably the most famous and well-known landscape artist in the world. During his lifetime he was sought after around the world for his talented approach to landscape design. Central Park in New York City and the design of the Worlds Fair and Exposition in Chicago in the late 1800’s is among many shining examples of his work.

Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward OlmstedThis author has scraped away the accolades and achievements and made the artist into a more personal figure. His wife Mary and he had many decades of a happy marriage despite the loss of a number of offspring. Mary was the linch-pin which held together his myriad of accomplishments. She led the family through many heartbreaking episodes and was often a sounding board for family events.

Looking at the accomplishments of the Olmstead clan, tragedies often clouded and overshadowed the triumphs. Losing a daughter and three sons is a tragic example of the challenges faced by the family. One in particular is Charlotte who lost her way as an adult and spent most of her life in an asylum. Mary kept her wits and steered the family through all the heartbreaks.

The author illuminated the importance of a strong matriarch in this family enterprise. Mary made lifelong friends who helped her through the darkest of days when children were lost and the future looked the darkest. Mr. Olmsted helped to develop and enhance some of the nations most prized national parks including Yosemite. This particular chapter is very endearing.

CE WilliamsThe end result is a very endearing tale of a family with vision and purpose. Fredrick Law Olmstead and his sons and daughter helped to leave a family legacy of unparalleled significance. Anyone who visits the national parks and many city and/or regional parks owe the majesty and authenticity of the landscape to the tenacity of this family. Read this book and enjoy the enlightening adventure. 5 stars – CE Williams 

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Biographical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ISBN: ‎1684337216
ASIN: B0947331QQ
Print Length: 315 pages
Publication Date: July 29, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Landscape of a Marriage [Amazon]
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Gail Ward Olmsted - authorThe Author: [Gail Ward Olmsted] I enjoy writing about quirky, lovable women in search of their happy ever after! My newest title- Landscape of a Marriage, is historical fiction. It’s the story of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted told through the eyes of Mary, his wife of 44 years. Watch for it this summer!

A hopeless romantic, I am married to the love of my life. My favorite role is that of mom to two young adults and I enjoy reading, boating, knitting, music and traveling.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

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