A Tale of Two Maidens: A Medieval French Story of Fate, Adventure, and the Hundred Years' War

A Tale of Two Maidens: A Medieval French Story of Fate, Adventure, and the Hundred Years' War

By Anne Echols
2016 | 246 pp. | 978-0-86698-809-4 | Paperback 6 x 9 in
$14.95 |

Buy Now!

During the Hundred Years’ War, England seizes vast lands from France, even Paris itself. Mercenary soldiers called Scorchers ravage the countryside and terrified peasants flee to cities.

Ancient prophecies foretell that a Virgin will turn the tide of war and save France from conquest by England. Jeanne (Joan of Arc), a peasant girl from an obscure village in the northeast, claims to hear the voices of saints, who bid her to step forward and fulfill the prophecies. Dressing as a young man, she embarks on a long journey to the court of Charles the Dauphin, the rightful heir. In a matter of months, she convinces him that God has sent her to his aid. Clad in armor, Jeanne spurs the French army to major victories and leads Charles to Reims for his coronation. For the first time in many years, the French people dare to hope for a victory over the English.

Meanwhile in Troyes, a town that lies on Jeanne’s path to the coronation, two sisters play chess on a cold winter’s night. For long stretches of the year, Ameline and Felise are on their own since their mother is dead and their father is a long-distance merchant. Because of his debts, the girls rely on Ameline’s income as a dressmaker to put food on the table. Felise, an apprentice scribe, looks forward to the day she too can earn money by her own hand.

Felise and Ameline exchange news about Jeanne. Felise is eager to see her face to face but Ameline cautions her against putting too much hope in Jeanne. The girls renew their promise to their dying mother: to remain free from the bonds of unwanted, loveless marriages.

Little do they know that everything is about to change forever.