The Maid and the Queen
The Secret History of Joan of Arc
By Nancy Goldstone
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670023332, 320pp.)
Publication Date: March 29, 2012
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Attention, Game of Thrones’ fans: The most enjoyably sensational aspects of medieval politicsdouble-crosses, ambushes, bizarre personal obsessions, lunacy and naked self-interestare in abundant evidence in Nancy Goldstone's The Maid and the Queen.” (Laura Miller, Salon.com)
Politically astute, ambitious, and beautiful, Yolande of Aragon, queen of Sicily, was one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages. Caught in the complex dynastic battle of the Hundred Years War, Yolande championed the dauphin's cause against the forces of England and Burgundy, drawing on her savvy, her statecraft, and her intimate network of spies. But the enemy seemed invincible. Just as French hopes dimmed, an astonishingly courageous young woman named Joan of Arc arrived from the farthest recesses of the kingdom, claiming she carried a divine message-a message that would change the course of history and ultimately lead to the coronation of Charles VII and the triumph of France.
Now, on the six hundredth anniversary of the birth of Joan of Arc, this fascinating book explores the relationship between these two remarkable women, and deepens our understanding of this dramatic period in history. How did an illiterate peasant girl gain access to the future king of France, earn his trust, and ultimately lead his forces into battle? Was it only the hand of God that moved Joan of Arc-or was it also Yolande of Aragon?
Nancy Goldstone's previous books include Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe and The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily. She has also coauthored five books with her husband, Lawrence Goldstone. She lives in Westport, Connecticut.
Praise for The Maid and the Queen by Nancy Goldstone:
“A dual biography of two fascinating medieval women with the descriptive energy of a novel.”
—USA Today (An Editor's Book Pick)
“Goldstone has peeled back the nostalgic drapery of The Maid of Orléans, and tells the most complete history of Joan of Arc that I have ever read. . . . Gripping and informative and should be the next book you read.”
—Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review
“With compelling storytelling, Goldstone colorfully weaves together the tales of these two women [Yolande of Aragon and Joan of Arc]-one rich, one poor; one educated, one illiterate; one worldly, one simple-whose powerful personalities and deep allegiance to France helped shape the country's future.”
“Goldstone's vivid retelling of Joan's astounding victories and her capture and martyrdom by the English is as gripping as ever . . . [A] knowledgeable and accessible account of a turning point in French history.”
“[Nancy's] entertaining narrative will intrigue general readers interested in the Middle Ages, Joan of Arc (whose 600th birthday is this year), or biographies of royal figures or women in history.”
“Goldstone adds an enlightening new chapter to a legendary saga and rescues another unjustly neglected woman from the dust pile of conventional history.”
“Attention, ‘Game of Thrones’ fans: The most enjoyably sensational aspects of medieval politics—double-crosses, ambushes, bizarre personal obsessions, lunacy and naked self-interest—are in abundant evidence in Nancy Goldstone's The Maid and the Queen. . . .Thanks to this book, a bit more of [Yolande's] remarkable life has been coaxed out into the open.”
—Laura Miller, Salon.com
“The mysterious and secret bond between the worldly and powerful Yolande of Aragon, queen of Sicily, and the transcendent Joan of Arc comes into glorious view in this meticulous, colorful study of their lives. A fascinating historical excursion, bursting with medieval flavor.”
—Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I
“A wonderful medieval tapestry of a book that tells the still-amazing story of Joan of Arc, a peasant girl-turned-warrior who saves her king and France, and the pivotal role played by yet another extraordinary woman, Yolande of Aragon, queen of Sicily, whenin this time of tumult and treachery Joan rose to such unexpected power.”
—Jill Jones, author of Eiffel's Tower
“A lively, fast-paced and fascinating account of Joan's story, weaving together the labyrinthine intrigues of medieval politics, the real story behind a medieval fairy tale and the astonishing events that led a young peasant girl from the command of an army to a fiery death at the hands of the English.”