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YOUNG JOAN by Barbara Dana


by Barbara Dana

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: April 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-021422-8
Publisher: HarperCollins

 A beautifully crafted fictional portrait of Joan of Arc, from her first visions until she leaves on her historic mission. Joan's own revealing narrative voice is the center of interest here: wholly trusting in God's goodness and the wisdom of her guiding saints; loving the world's beauty and treasuring other creatures, especially the animals on her father's farm; concerned for family, friends--and enemies; quiet, obedient, but eloquently persuasive; genuine in her humility, regarding any good she does as God's. Joan recounts the temporal and spiritual events that prepare her, by almost imperceptible degrees, for her role. Though she's not considered remarkable in her village, she's already recognized as having a gift for healing; and though family and neighbors create a loving, supportive community, the threat of violence from marauding Burgundians is unremitting. Adopting a spare style whose simplicity effectively suggests Joan's intelligence and naivetÇ, Dana follows the growth of Joan's governing idea through poignantly poetic exchanges with her voices. There is a great deal of repetition, but it allows the reader's perception to deepen along with Joan's own sense of her purpose. An epilogue, still in Joan's voice (from beyond the fire) completes the story; though the novel seems carefully researched, a note differentiating fact from fiction would have been welcome. A convincing, unforgettable--and nondoctrinaire-- re-creation. (Fiction. 11+)