Hi GirlMoguls, it’s Rose here. I wanted to tell you about a book I just finished that definitely made me re-think any desire I had to live in the time of knights and princesses (like I haven’t already given up the whole princess thing – but still) Anyway, The Book of the Maidservant was inspired by the fifteenth-century text The Book of Margery Kempe, the first autobiography in English. In this book, author Rebecca Barnhouse tells the story of a religious pilgrimage – a long and perilous journey from the point of view Johanna, the maid servant – an unenviable position if there ever was one.
As a serving girl, Johanna has little choice but to follow her mistress as they set out across hard roads on a pilgrimage to Rome. Johanna’s lot is a hard one and she faces hunger, cold, bandits and the scorn of her mistress. In fact things go from bad to worse, to even worse. Not mention the fleas, mice and other yucky things. It presents an unvarnished view of medieval times – no princesses here. And though I felt put upon for Johanna, she does bring some of it on herself.
In the end, though Joanna, does find a place for herself – though and an understanding of how her choices led to her to where she is. This book has no easy answers…but you’ll want to keep reading just to see what will happen to to poor Johanna next.