Troubador Far From Home

Released: 01/05/2012

ISBN: 9781780881737

Format: Paperback

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Far From Home

by

Shortlisted for The Writing Magazine Self Publishing Award 2013

This story which I must tell of war and great courage and treachery, is one of loss. Though France may celebrate her achievements for centuries to come, it is the story of how I lost my daughter, Jehanne, whom people here call Jeanne d’Arc, and the peace of my family.

Joan of Arc remains one of history’s most puzzling figures. How, in the fifteenth century, could a peasant girl become the head of the French army and have such success against the English occupiers? Her story ends tragically – aged 19 she is burnt at the stake after a sham trial.

Far From Home is Joan of Arc’s story told by her mother, Zabillet. This brilliant, vivid historical novel, published in the 600th anniversary year of Joan of Arc’s birth, brings new insight into what it is like to be the mother of a hero.

Zabillet knows nothing of her daughter’s extraordinary future as she and her husband, Jacques, struggle to raise their children. A family of peasants, they work the land for their feudal lords and a meagre return for themselves. The English and French are engaged in a senseless war causing destruction to the land and traditional village life. But Jehanne is fiercely independent and refuses to settle down like all the other village girls. Zabillet is shocked and frightened beyond measure when Jehanne leaves home and travels to the uncrowned King of France hundreds of miles away. She struggles to believe that it could be a daughter of hers who leads the French army in amazing victories against the English. And when things go wrong, she has to stand by helplessly as Jehanne is imprisoned by the English and sentenced to death.

Zabillet falls into misfortune and despair. The war drags on and for a while her family falls apart. But eventually Jehanne’s vision of a united France is realised. As an old woman, Zabillet seeks justice for her daughter and restores her reputation.

My book, Far From Home, was shortlisted for the Writers Magazine Self-Publishing Award 2013. A lot of the credit must go to Matador for making my book into such a professional product. I was particularly pleased that in their judgement, the magazine said 'Many entries would be indistinguishable from titles produced by mainstream houses, not least our ... winners and shortlist'. The judges also seemed inpressed by some aspects of my marketing campaign - use of anniversaries and niche markets. I had in fact just come back from France, where I had been checking out my sales in lthe little bookshops by the Joan of Arc tourist sites - a steady trickle of sales to English-speaking tourists.

Many people have expressed interest in the historical facts about Joan of Arc's family members. There is an article on the women's history website www.herstoria.com where I have given the facts behind the story in my novel, and also a page on my website.


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Joy Bounds

Writing, remarkable women, history - all my main pre-occupations came together when I wrote this novel about Joan of Arc's mother. It is my debut novel, and explores this well-known story from a different perspective.

One summer a few years ago I made an overnight stop in Rouen and, as tourists do, went to see the Old Market Place where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake. Like most people. I knew only the bare facts of her life, but I became fascinated by her story and that of her family. What, I mused, must her mother have gone through?

In a blend of historical fact and imagination, my novel tries to answer that question.

In May 2014 I had a different sort of book published, but on a similar subject (much closer to home). A Song of Their Own is a local history about what women in and around Ipswich did to get the Vote for Women 100 years ago. My website has more details.

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