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The Maid review - Kimberly Cutter

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BELLE DU WAR Joan of Arc is portrayed with the rapture and humanity of a teenager

The Maid

Current Status:
In Season
Kimberly Cutter
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

We gave it a B

Was Joan of Arc a messenger from God, a lunatic, or just a petulant kid? She’s a little of each in this beautifully written novel, which follows Jehanne from her girlhood to the Hundred Years’ War — during which, as a teenager, she insisted that God had commanded her to lead the French army — to her death at 19, burned at the stake in the Rouen marketplace. Cutter presents Jehanne as part mystic, but also part mascot used by France to rally support from the peasants. In The Maid‘s best scenes, she couldn’t be more human. She fights the urge to make out with soldiers; her moods swing from rapture to rage to ”loneliness. Other times joy. Wild soaring joy. Ten thousand birds singing inside her.” If that’s what it feels like to be a saint, it’s not that different from being 16. B