The Maiden General
Outskirts Press (2015)
Reviewed by Shamekia Agnew for Reader Views (08/16)
“The Maiden General” by Mike MacCarthy is a story about Jehanne d’Arc and her rise in popularity to lead the French to victory against the English. The story and writing were enjoyable and an easy read. I was a little disappointed that the story glossed over some of the miracles that caused the French people to believe in Jehanne as their savior. That however, can be easily forgiven if you are just looking for a less detailed version of her rise to fame, or want to see a glimpse of what she may have been like as person. It also didn’t go into much depth about the trials The Dauphine put her through to test her validity, so by the end I wasn’t sure why the French had so much faith in “just a poor farm girl from France,” that happened to know her bible, and was a virgin. If I didn’t already know some things about the story, I wouldn’t know why they believed in her, outside of desperation.
This would be a good read for a young adult. It does take you through Jehanne’s journey without feeling overwhelmed by the uphill battle she fought to get The Dauphine to believe her. MacCarthy does a very good job of showing Jehanne’s desire to do well and be good, although sometimes it makes her seem like an ill-tempered child. The way the story is told, it was never herself she believed in and wasn’t something she wanted to do or be, with the exception of serving God. It tells how she felt she failed in her mission. He also speaks of her bravery and her ability to rally and inspire others.
In all, it’s a good starting point to learning who Jehanne d’Arc may have been as person, and understanding what drove her as a heroine. If the story had gone into a little more depth about the struggles she had to endure as a woman of low birth, it would probably work for an older audience. “The Maiden General” by Mike MacCarthy is a good book for a rainy day, or for inspiration when you are feeling a little bummed or overwhelmed.