The Book of the Maidservant
By Rebecca Barnhouse
Random House, 2009
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.
Rebecca Barnhouse is an assistant professor of English at Youngstown State University. Barnhouse teaches and writes about medieval topics and about children’s literature set in the Middle Ages. Her scholarly books include ”Recasting the Past: The Middle Ages in Young Adult Literature” and the ”Book of the Knight of the Tower; Manners for Young Medieval Women.”
This book will be released on October 27, 2009