The Maid by Kimberly Cutter
A Novel of Joan of Arc

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Synopsis

“Was she a saint or a witch? A visionary or a madwoman? Or an extraordinary peasant girl who, at God’s bidding, led an army, saved France, and paid the price by burning alive? . . . Kimberly Cutter’s portrait of ‘Jehanne’ as a strange, gritty teenage tomboy and true believer is compelling.” —USA Today

It is the fifteenth century, and the tumultuous Hundred Years’ War rages on. France is under siege, English soldiers tear through the countryside destroying all who cross their paths, and Charles VII, the uncrowned king, has neither the strength nor the will to rally his army. And in the quiet of her parents’ garden in Domrémy, a peasant girl sees a spangle of light and hears a powerful voice speak her name: Jehanne.

The story of Jehanne d’Arc, the visionary and saint who believed she had been chosen by God, who led an army and saved her country, has captivated our imaginations for centuries. But the story of Jehanne—the girl whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from a violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride and to fight, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to persuade first one, then two, then thousands to follow her—is at once thrilling, unexpected, and heartbreaking. Rich with unspoken love and battlefield valor, The Maid is a novel about the power and uncertainty of faith and the exhilarating and devastating consequences of fame.

“Impressive . . . Cutter evokes the novel’s medieval world with striking details.” —New York Times Book Review

“Joan of Arc, the teenage peasant girl who commanded a French army, was burned at the stake, and eventually declared a saint, exists in our collective imagination as more myth than human being . . . Cutter strips away the romanticism in favor of a more complex portrayal that raises some provocative questions.” —O Magazine

 

About Kimberly Cutter

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Kimberly Cutter received her MFA from the University of Virginia. She was the West Coast editor for W Magazine for four years. She has written for Harper's Bazaar, W, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and Marie Claire, where she is currently a contributing editor. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
Published October 18, 2011 by Mariner Books. 304 pages
Genres: History, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Maid

Kirkus Reviews

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Jehanne convinces mealy-mouthed Charles to muster troops for her, and with an army of 10,000 (at its peak) she wrests Orléans and other key cities from the Goddons and keeps her promise to crown Charles in Reims Cathedral.

Sep 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

The New York Times

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(Twain had long been entranced by her, and had even written a novel called “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.”) When she entered the room, the author “had every appearance of a man who had seen a ghost.” When he recovered, Twain said to the assembled guests: “I studied that girl, Joan of Arc...

Oct 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Publishers Weekly

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She ably describes Jehanne's transformation from an innocent, curious child into a confident, driven young woman who conquers souls, brings thousands to her support, and convinces a wary would-be king that she can make him realize his destiny—infusing all with a sense of the holy wonder that fu...

Aug 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Kirkus Reviews

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Even with her shaved head and the rough burlap dress the Bishop makes her wear, even with her ribs jutting out like a starved dog’s, he looks at her with shining eyes, sneaks her bits of bread and extra cups of water, brings her wormwood salve for her bruises.

Oct 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Book Reporter

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Oct 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Book Reporter

The deep, masculine voice the girl hears sets “her blood on fire” when she is told she is the “Maid of France.” "While the historic details and setting make the story come to life, it is Cutter’s insight into the thoughts and emotions of the young saint that make it so compelling."

Oct 20 2011 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Entertainment Weekly

B Originally posted Oct 19, 2011 Published in issue #1178 Oct 28, 2011 Order article reprints

Oct 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Washington Independent Review of Books

“More books have been written about Joan of Arc than any woman in history,” writes author Kimberly Cutter, “and I have plundered many, many of them for information and inspiration.” She asserts that almost everything in her historical novel The Maid is based on fact: how, in 1429, an illiterate p...

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Denver Post

Saint Margaret, Saint Catherine and Saint Michael come bearing the same message: France must be saved from the English, and Jehanne has been chosen to lead the troops into battle.

Dec 07 2011 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Look At OKC

“Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16) by Kimberly Cutter is a humanistic look at the remarkable peasant girl who became a visionary, a warrior and a saint.

Dec 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Historical Novel Society

The Hundred Years War and the story of Joan of Arc are inextricably linked in the pages of history, and her story is well known.

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Macleans

Cutter presents a thrilling and powerful version of events that follows the established facts of her protagonist’s life, but that also goes deep into Joan’s heart and head as she second-guesses the divine voices, panics before battle, rejoices in the euphoria of victory, and then crumbles when sh...

Nov 02 2011 | Read Full Review of The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc

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