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Pope Joan: A Novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Interesting
Pope Joan, a compelling character...

Pope Joan is a good read. I couldn't put it down. Joan is a very compelling character. I was immediately drawn in to her desperate yearning for knowledge and freedom at a time when almost everyone around her was illiterate and women were little more than property. Cross paints a fascinating 9th century back drop with plenty of accurate medieval historical events and details. I found myself looking up battles, maps and people highlighted throughout the story. I know very little about this time period before reading the book so it was a lot of fun. The inner workings of medieval Papal Rome were amazing, a bit like a Greek tragedy. Was Joan actually a pope? We will probably never know for sure but it definitely makes a great story and Cross gives a nice summary of her thoughts and seven years of historical research that went into the book. I highly recommend this book. It made for a lively book club discussion!

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
A Compeling Mystery

This novel is beautifully written. Three time frames are woven together to unravel a family mystery. Twists and turns keep you guessing until the end. The moral and ethical questions make for lively book club discussion! A must read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Insightful
Simple & Light

This is a good but not great quick read. Perfect for summer. At first I found the writing too simple. I watched the short documentary on HBO on the making of the series and it helped me get a feel for the real Botswana. It was easier to get into the story and appreciate the pacing and characters when I realized that the intense heat means that life is slower and more time is spent on chit-chat. Don't expect a lot of action. The story is more of a personal success story.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Interesting, Insightful
Honest

I thought this book was going to be another diet book memoir focused on the how to, but it was so much more. Frances Kuffel transports the reader into the painful world of a food addiction. She is somebody who is physiologically and psychologically dependent on her drug of choice: Food. She is brutally honest in her depiction of life before, during and after her amazing weight loss. The book is beautifully written with lots of humor and candor. As Frances discovers the "World of Girls" she also discovers the joy and sadness of real intimacy for the first time without her protective layer. She joins a 12 step program to help her lose the weight and grapple with her new thin identity. It was a fascinating read and I highly recommend it to book clubs.

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