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Blood Red, Sister Rose by Thomas Keneally

Book cover for Blood Red, Sister Rose
Through the centuries the story of Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, La Pucelle, has fascinated writers, not least Keneally. In Blood Red, Sister Rose, not only does he make the legend his own, with a haunting portrait of the visionary girl, but he also pays homage to his illustrious literary predecessors, casting the story in part as dialogue, as though it were a transcript of her conversations through the years. Keneally gives us a contradictory picture of Joan, or Jehanne as he calls her. Troubled by the fact she has not yet reached womanhood, under pressure from her parents to marry, reluctant to settle to the role ordained for her, living at a time when superstition and magic vie with Christianity, Jehanne finds herself involved in mysterious ceremonies to help the Dauphin, under siege in his own country. As voices begin to assail her, she knows she must aid the Dauphin in his bid to retake Orleans, and begins the long struggle to make her voice heard.