Twain himself said, "I like Joan of Arc best among all my books. It is the best; I know it perfectly well." A serious and carefully considered story about a compelling heroine, the Maid of Orléans, Twain viewed the work both as a bid to be accepted as a serious writer and as a gift of love to his favorite daughter, Suzy, who would die tragically three months after Joan of Arc was published. Suzy declared to her sister Clara that Joan of Arc was "perhaps even more sweet and beautiful than The Prince and the Pauper," which she had earlier called "unquestionably the best book" her father had ever written. Modeled in part after Suzy herself, the figure of Joan is a celebration of Twain's ideal woman: gentle, selfless, and pure, but also brave, courageous, and divinely eloquent. Despite its romantic idealism, however, as William Howells wrote, "the book has a vitalizing force. Joan lives in it again, and dies, and then lives on in the love and pity and wonder of the reader." A compelling story of this inspiring heroine.