Monday, December 9, 2019

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc - An Audiobook Review and Giveaway

Congratulations to Jo Lynn Worden who won Sandra Warren's book, Obsessed By A Promise.

If you want to read a masterful portrayal of deep POV from multiple perspectives (as well as from the perspective of objects) then I recommend that you get hold of a copy of Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc. Not only will you have a great mentor text for deep POV, but you'll also experience multiple types of poetic forms from the medieval period. Plus, you'll discover what life was like for Joan of Arc

Kudos to author, David Elliott. I can't imagine the research needed to write this short book in beautiful, classical poetry. 


Joan's story is told through herself, her mother, father, different witnesses at her Trial of Condemnation and testimony from the posthumous Trial of Nullification. But that is far from all. Charles VII also has a voice--one that is filled with his embarrassment over a young maid who said he needed her to rescue France from the English. 

Joan was a diligent, virtuous daughter, who could spin and mend better than any other woman in her village. But she was bored by these common, household tasks that bound her. In her fierce loyalty to her king, Charles VII, she believed that she could help him win the Hundred Year War. Around the age of thirteen she reported that she started receiving visions from saints and angels. They were her guides as she left home on her passionate journey to save her country. The archangel Michael has a voice of his own in the narrative. 

The author personifies both objects which Joan encountered as well as concepts. For example, here are parts of the poem from the voice of Joan's needle which she used as a young woman:

In the circle of women, is where I am found. Stitching and hemming and mending. I've been handled by many both maiden and crone...No one could touch her, the girl they called Joan. Ferocious, focus, strong-willed. She was a warrior,  the linen her foe. I was her weapon, her sword in her hand.

Other objects had voices. A pitchfork used by a farmer turned soldier, ("Why did he take me away from the farm?");  a 700-year-old sword she requested be brought to her ("How did she find me? Why did she take me from my rest?"); the alms she gave to the poor ("I felt precious in her hand"); the cattle she cared for ("Why did she see angels?"); her hair ("Cut off to her ears because it was too alluring to men"); the arrow that missed its target; the crossbow that found her thigh; her red dress she always wore and the tunic that replaced it; her virginity, and lust. Dramatically repeated was the somber voice of Fire: burning, soaring, and ready to devour. 

Because of the graphic and intimate portrayal of Joan's life and death, I recommend this for mature teens and adults. It would be a remarkable gift for someone who fits that category of readers.

Outside of Nikki Grimes' books, I rarely listen to a book and recommend that the audio version is the best way to "read" the novel. But in this case, I can't say enough about the dramatization that the three narrators, Saskia Maarleveld, Celeste Ciulla, and Luis Moreno provide. Their voices give a rich depth to the characters and objects that populated Joan of Arc's last years. Here is an audio snippet


To enter, please leave a comment by December 12 with your email address if you are new to my blog. This is another giveaway courtesy of Recorded Books. Continental Unites States only. 


Unknown said...

This sounds like an amazing story and most appropriate for these days and times -- a strong woman tale. And as you know, I am a fan of multiple POVs.

My husband and I LOVE audiobooks. We never travel without a stack of them ready to transport us to our destination. I would be honored to WIN this audiobook.

Carol Baldwin said...

Please leave me your name and email address--you're coming up as "unknown." I'd love to enter you!

Danielle H. said...

wow! This sounds amazing and I know I will enjoy listening to this as I travel.

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in Danielle!

Rosi said...

I really enjoyed reading this book. It might have been a good option for me to listen to. I don't do much in the audiobook arena, but this would be a good choice. Thanks for your thoughts. Please let someone else win since I've read the book.

Carol Baldwin said...

Got it, Rosi!

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