The Book of the Maidservant

The Book of the Maidservant

eBook - 2009
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"A funny and wise book about friendship, loyalty, and love." --Karen Cushman

Johanna is a servant girl to Dame Margery Kempe, a renowned medieval holy woman. Dame Margery feels the suffering the Virgin Mary felt for her son but cares little for the misery she sees every day. When she announces that Johanna will accompany her on a pilgrimage to Rome, the suffering truly begins. After walking all day, Johanna must fetch water, wash clothes, and cook for the entire party of pilgrims. Then arguing breaks out between Dame Margery and the other travelers, and Johanna is caught in the middle. As the fighting escalates, Dame Margery turns her back on the whole group, including Johanna. Abandoned in a foreign land where she doesn't even speak the language, the young maidservant must find her own way to Rome.

Inspired by the fifteenth-century text The Book of Margery Kempe, the first autobiography in English, debut novelist Rebecca Barnhouse chronicles Johanna's painful journey through fear, anger, and physical hardship to ultimate redemption.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: [New York] : Random House Books for Young Readers, 2009.
ISBN: 9780375892912
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 electronic text.


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m2 Apr 09, 2012

What's fascinating about this book is the history. Margery of Kemp (the Maidservant's mistress) is a historical person who actually did make pilgrimage to Rome and who wrote the first autobiography in the English language. The maidservant has a compelling voice and harrowing adventures -- worth reading!

Oct 03, 2011

Once you get through the first few pages, you think "oh. okay. that's cool, I geuss." But when you keep reading on, it gets more interesting! I mean, how could it not, with all the incidents that happen throught the book? This is a must-read. Actually, I'm reading a lot of historical fiction lately. Ah well, I geuss I shouldn't be reading that many realistic fiction books anyways.

Nov 20, 2010

I grabbed this at the local library because I always need something to listen to while cooking or housekeeping. I'm really glad I did! Rebecca Barnhouse read The Book of Margery Kempe and noted Dame Margery's complaints about her young maidservant while on pilgrimage in the early fifteenth century. Barnhouse decided to tell the story from the beleaguered maidservant's point of view. This results in an entertaining, sometimes harrowing, and ultimately satisfying piece of historical fiction. This book is aimed at younger readers, but, as it is well-written and researched, it can be enjoyed by adult readers as well.

The narrator of this audio-book, Susan Duerden, does a fine job (although she can't do a Welsh accent to save her life).

I'll be on the watch for Rebecca Barnhouse's other books.

Oct 03, 2010

Barnhouse’s vivid portrayal of medieval life sets the stage for this story of hardship and personal growth. As the author’s note states, Barnhouse created Johanna out of a fascination with the maligned maidservant portrayed in Dame Margery Kempe’s autobiography. In telling the story from this new perspective, Barnhouse has created a strong-willed, hard-working female character that will inspire girls with her fiery personality. A great read for those who enjoy historical fiction and the middle ages.

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Oct 03, 2011

princess555 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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