Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Book of the Maidservant

The Book of the Maidservant

By Rebecca Barnhouse


It's the Middle Ages and young Joanna is growing up in a holy woman's household as her maidservant. Joanna's mistress, Dame Margery Kemp, is divorced and lives alone in Northern England. But one day, Dame Margery says to Joanna that the Lord had spoken to her and that he wants her to go on a pilgrimage to Rome with Joanna. Joanna has no choice, she must go and she must walk all day in bare feet. At the end of each day, she must cook, clean and wait on all of the other ladies and lords on the pilgrimage.

Joanna soon adapts to her new on-the-go life, but when the other pilgrims get fed up with Dame Margery, she decides to abandon the pilgrimage.  Joanna must continue onto Rome with the rest of the pilgrims, one of whom  is very dangerous.

She feels alone.
She feels lost.
She feels betrayed.
She feels scared.

Will she make it to Rome... alive?


The Book of the Maidservant was an unusual book with lots of interesting characters, but it still seemed to be missing something.

I absolutely adored the fact that this was a historical romance and I loved the way that the author described Joanna's life in the Middle Ages. Even though Joanna had a miserable life throughout her trip to Rome, the author somehow made it seem like it was an incredible adventure.

The plot was well thought-out, and Joanna's life and her travels were very interesting. I liked how on the trip to Rome she got to meet lots of different people and learn more about them.

I felt like I was living in the Middle Ages when I was reading this book. Rebecca Barnhouse, the author, did a very good job at describing what was going on around Joanna and what she saw, her descriptions were very vivid.

I think that what the book was missing, was progression of the story and of events. The whole story and all of its events seemed to be lingering on too much and I thought that if the book that been any longer I would have stopped and never restarted. I wish that the author could have made things happen more quickly.

Recommended for any tween or teen age 12+

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