Wednesday 27 September 2023

Joan of Arc The Maid of Orléans - Andrew Votipka - Mr. Baker’s Book Series Book 3

Joan of Arc
The Maid of Orléans
Mr. Baker’s Book Series Book 3
Andrew Votipka
ISBN 9798843057121

Joan of Arc The Maid of Orléans - Andrew Votipka - Mr. Baker’s Book Series Book 3

This is the long awaited third volume in the Mr. Barker’s Book series. I actually missed the release of it. And only found it when I recommended the first two to a friend, and thought to go look and see if there was a third yet. This is by far the most ambitious of the volumes.  

It is another great read in the Mr. Baker’s Book Series, but again not the book I was expecting. I was expecting a volume on Aloysius Gonzaga, as it had been teased at the end of book 1. I do hope we still get that one at some point. But even with it being on an unexpected saint, this was a wonderful volume. My youngest daughter picked Joan for her confirmation saint 2 years ago. She has done book reports, and speeches on Joan, and together we have read a number of volumes about Joan. We were both very excited to get into this. It jumped to the top of her ‘to be read’ pile as soon as it arrived. We could hardly put it down. We loved the first book in this series on Abba Moses, in part because he is a much less known saint. And book 2, Saint Nicholas The Wonderworker is an excellent read. And this is another great volume. For readers of all ages. I stated before that in some ways this story reminded me of the Chime Travelers series by Lisa M. Hendey but geared for an older audience, and in some other ways it reminded me of the Douglings Adventures by Carissa Douglas which are both for younger readers. And of the The Glaston Chronicles by Donal Anthony Foley, which is for slightly older readers. Fans of those three series will love this series. This is geared more for an older reader, late middle grade, tweens or teens. But I loved it even in my 50’.

The description of this volume is:

“A pandemic has shut down Laura's Sunday school class. But her teacher, Mr. Baker, has a plan. Join Laura as she travel back in time to help Joan of Arc save France! The third installment of Mr. Baker's Book series is packed with action, history, and a lesson about what it means to fight for what you believe in.”

In this one instead of the trio travelling through time, it is just Laura, and he travels to many times and places. But all in relation to Joan of Arc. 

The chapters in the story are:

   1. The Virus 
   2. A Small Village 
   3. The Vision 
   4. A Message for the King 
   5. An Escort 
   6. Ready to Go 
   7. On Trial 
   8. Sardines 
   9. Challenge to Authority 
   10. Orléans 
   11. The Secrets of the Book 
   12. Breaking the Siege 
   13. Behind Enemy Lines 
   14. The Coronation 
   15. Tax Breaks 
   16. Wake Up!

The author in the preface to this volume states:

“Unlike Abba Moses or Saint Nicholas, the tale of Joan of Arc is complex. It’s complexity comes from the fact that her life is so well documented. As Mark Twain said in his excellent book about Joan, “The details of the life of Joan of Arc form a biography which is unique among the world’s biographies in one respect: It is the only story of a human life which comes to us under oath, the only one which comes to us from the witness-stand. The official records of the Great Trial of 1431, and of the Process of Rehabilitation of a quarter of a century later, are still preserved in the National Archives of France, and they furnish with remarkable fullness the facts of her life. The history of no other life of that remote time is known with either the certainty or the comprehensiveness that attaches to hers.”
I have done my best to free the narrative from the burdens of dates and names, always trying to remember who the audience is. But I have probably failed more often than I’ve succeeded. To assist the reader, I would recommend remembering these few things:

Joan called Charles VII the dauphin, which means the heir to the throne. So any time you see that word, remember that it’s referring to Charles VII. And it’s pronounced like “dolphin” with no “l”.

Besides the English, there was another group trying to control France called the Burgundians. They make an appearance in this story. Just remember, at the time they were allies of the English and enemies of the French.”

Now having a Religious Studies Degree with a focus on Roman Catholic Thoughts I am well versed with the story of Joan. Like many I have had a fascination with her for years. And have read books about her life off and on throughout mine. My daughter who chose Joan for her confirmation saint is always interested in reading more about Joan. This was a fascinating read. To imagine going back and jumping through time to key points in Joan’s story.  

This book really does bring to life the life and times of Saint Joan of Arc and by hopping around it time; we encounter her at many different points in her life. Laura is transported back in time, and soon finds she plays small roles in Joan’s mission. What they are and how they play out … well you have to read the book to find out. Laura also encounters someone she knows and we learn more about the book that has now allowed children to travel in time three times and encounter different saints.  

This is a great story to read or to be read aloud. It helps bring part of the long history of Christianity to life and bring awareness to a younger generation. Pick it up and give it a try and join Laura as she gets transported back and experience this saint and the 100 Years War in a fascinating first hand way.  

This book was an excellent read in a great series. We greatly enjoyed it. I will pick up any future offering in this series. This book brought to life Saint Joan of Arc to us in a wonderful new way. I highly recommend this volume and the series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Andrew Votipka:
Mr. Baker’s Book Series
Aloysius Gonzaga

Joan of Arc The Maid of Orléans - Andrew Votipka - Mr. Baker’s Book Series Book 3

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