Joan of Arc by Nancy Wilson Ross is the beautifully presented life story of a beloved figure in French and Christian history. I knew the outline of the story, but Nancy Wilson Ross delved deep in order to present the story in a gentle, moving narrative. The reader gets to know Joan’s character, the social and political setting of her childhood, and is carried through the remarkable journey of her life.

At the age of thirteen, Joan, a kindhearted but illiterate peasant girl in rural France, hears Voices telling her she will bring about the crowning of a king. She tells no one of this revelation for four years while the Voices explain more fully what she must do. At seventeen, she manages to convince leaders, including the prince, to let her lead armies, and soldiers flock to her banner. She fulfills her mission, seeing the prince crowned King of France. While attempting to unite all the country behind him, she is caught by enemies. At the age of nineteen, “the maid” is tried and convicted as a witch, and burned at the stake. Only later was she declared innocent, and eventually made a saint, by the Roman Catholic Church.

All through this narrative, the reader never loses sight of Joan’s determination to obey God’s will for her life, nor her youth and humility. We read her hopes, see her tears, and wonder.

Written in 1953 for a series called Landmark Books showcasing important people in history, this book was published by Random House. It is a little over 150 pages long and written for middle-school children aged 10-13. It has been re-published, but appears to be currently out of print. Copies are available online through Powell’s Books, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Donna Fujimoto is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. She has published both devotionals for adults and short stories for teens. Her children love to read.

Mrs. Fujimoto has a collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge, available as an e-reader at Amazon. Find our review under “N” in the alphabetical listing: Titles We’ve Reviewed.

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