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The Passion of Dolssa

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Dolssa is a young gentlewoman with uncanny gifts, on the run from an obsessed friar determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses to tame. Botille is a wily and charismatic peasant, a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town. The year is 1241; the place, Provensa, what we now call Provence, France—a land still reeling from the Dolssa is a young gentlewoman with uncanny gifts, on the run from an obsessed friar determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses to tame. Botille is a wily and charismatic peasant, a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town. The year is 1241; the place, Provensa, what we now call Provence, France—a land still reeling from the bloody crusades waged there by the Catholic Church and its northern French armies. When the matchmaker finds the mystic near death by a riverside, Botille takes Dolssa in and discovers the girl’s extraordinary healing power. But as the vengeful Friar Lucien hunts down his heretic, the two girls find themselves putting an entire village at the mercy of murderers.


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Dolssa is a young gentlewoman with uncanny gifts, on the run from an obsessed friar determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses to tame. Botille is a wily and charismatic peasant, a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town. The year is 1241; the place, Provensa, what we now call Provence, France—a land still reeling from the Dolssa is a young gentlewoman with uncanny gifts, on the run from an obsessed friar determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses to tame. Botille is a wily and charismatic peasant, a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town. The year is 1241; the place, Provensa, what we now call Provence, France—a land still reeling from the bloody crusades waged there by the Catholic Church and its northern French armies. When the matchmaker finds the mystic near death by a riverside, Botille takes Dolssa in and discovers the girl’s extraordinary healing power. But as the vengeful Friar Lucien hunts down his heretic, the two girls find themselves putting an entire village at the mercy of murderers.

30 review for The Passion of Dolssa

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Here I go, shamelessly reviewing my own titles again. But if I didn't love it, who would? I hope you enjoy my next release, and I love reading your reviews. Here I go, shamelessly reviewing my own titles again. But if I didn't love it, who would? I hope you enjoy my next release, and I love reading your reviews.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Neeks

    I went into this expecting a romance due to the title (Thanks to Google after thinking of "Passion of the Christ", I discovered it has something to do with Jesus, WHICH MAKES WAY MORE SENSE). While I tend to stay away from novels with heavy religious themes, this book was in a whole league of its own and was an absolute delight to read. Although I didn't really know what to expect, as the plot itself is quite difficult to put into words, I was pleasantly surprised to find this was an incredibly w I went into this expecting a romance due to the title (Thanks to Google after thinking of "Passion of the Christ", I discovered it has something to do with Jesus, WHICH MAKES WAY MORE SENSE). While I tend to stay away from novels with heavy religious themes, this book was in a whole league of its own and was an absolute delight to read. Although I didn't really know what to expect, as the plot itself is quite difficult to put into words, I was pleasantly surprised to find this was an incredibly well written and fascinating historical fiction set in medieval France/Spain in the 1200s. This book was so engaging, wonderfully written and overall, was absolutely mesmerising and I could not put it down. Told mainly through the perspectives of a 17 year old girl named Botille, and on the odd occassion, Dolssa, we follow and learn about their journey as Dolssa is labelled a heretic, manages to escape her execution, and calls Jesus her "beloved". Botille is the town matchmaker who crosses paths with Dolssa and her relationship with her two sisters is hilarious, realistic and so refreshing. Botille and her two sisters end up taking Dolssa in, hiding her away and their friendship begins to unfold and take shape throughout the novel. While Botille and Dolssa are the main protagonists, every single character was full of life and Berry manages to make every single character complex, full of emotion and so interesting. Even the smaller cast of secondary characters were fascinating and had a reason for being in the narrative. They were all amazing to read about and the characterisation really had me immersed fully in the story. Speaking of, on more than one occassion, I FORGOT THIS WAS FICTION. Not only because the characters were so well developed, but because it's abundantly clear how much time, effort and research Berry put into this. Seriously guys, there's a full glossary and so much background information in the extra notes at the back of the book. Don't worry though, while a lot of the information in the back is super informative and a wonderful addition, you're able to read this without having to know ANYTHING about the 1200s, the world building was rich and detailed, and I found myself visualising everything in perfect detail. It just all felt so real to me (although the glossary is totally handy for certain words) and all of the details, large and small, had me fully immersed in the story and I seriously struggled to put this down. Plot wise is where things are hard to describe. While this is very much a character driven novel and what some might describe as pretty slow paced, I personally found myself itching to read more and couldn't keep myself from turning the pages to find out what would happen next. This was beautifully written, was bursting at the seams with accurate historical information, had well-rounded characters and the plot with everything else combined kept me hooked. The Passion of Dolssa is unlike any novel I've ever read. It's emotional, heart-pounding, rich in detail and just plain wonderful.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    The pure song of a nightingale, a rossinhol, rang across the water, ending in a trill. It was an hour for sprites and fairies. What magic might lurk among the riverbank grasses? Anything was possible just before dawn. Either it's been a really long time since I was this completely immersed in a story, or The Passion of Dolssa just managed to make me forget all others. Because I found this book engaging, infuriating, frightening and magical. It took over my life for a little while. It's the kin The pure song of a nightingale, a rossinhol, rang across the water, ending in a trill. It was an hour for sprites and fairies. What magic might lurk among the riverbank grasses? Anything was possible just before dawn. Either it's been a really long time since I was this completely immersed in a story, or The Passion of Dolssa just managed to make me forget all others. Because I found this book engaging, infuriating, frightening and magical. It took over my life for a little while. It's the kind of book I had to make time for - I would hold it in one hand as I made tea or brushed my teeth because I simply couldn't put it down; I needed to know what happened next. The writing is exquisite, painting the thirteenth-century French and Spanish countryside with brilliant description. And, into this time of mystical beliefs and holy witch hunts, come richly-drawn characters. Dolssa and Botille are the main characters and they burst off the page, but Berry makes every single character that walks through this novel interesting. Nobody is a wasted, throwaway addition; everyone is treated as a complex human being, creating a story full of life and emotion, sadness and humour, love and hate. Oh, and despite how the title sounds, this is not a romance at all. On the contrary, it is a gritty, medieval tale about a young woman accused of heresy and all the people who get pulled into her story when she escapes from her own execution. Her journey is a truly heart-pounding one and I felt constantly on the edge of my seat. It's a book that is somehow gentle and character-driven, at the same time as being compelling, awful and fast-paced. Perhaps it is because you care so much about all the characters that their fates never stop being important. You're constantly afraid of what dangers lurk around every corner. Not only are the characters memorable in themselves, but their relationships with one another are built up gradually, allowing the reader to become deeply invested in the relationship between mothers and daughters, sisters, and friends. What was strikingly noticeable while reading this book, was the extent to which we were made to care about every character, no matter how central they were to the story. There was not a single character's death (even that random person who is barely mentioned) that didn't affect me emotionally, and that's a really rare thing. Julie Berry knew exactly how to make me care about her characters, and exactly how to draw me in and keep me hooked. Some books are beautifully-written, finely-crafted and deserving of literary awards. Some books are fast-paced and exciting, making the pages fly by. The Passion of Dolssa, though, is both. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Extra points to Julie Berry for writing about something that doesn't appear in YA maybe ever - inquisition in 13th century Spain - and actually educating me on the subject. At the center of the story is Dolssa - basically, a girl in love with (the idea of) Jesus. Evidently, this sort of thing became a religious crime in Medieval Europe in 13th century - and so Dolssa is prosecuted and sent to death by fire. Escape. And here enters the real star of the novel - a teenage matchmaker Botille who save Extra points to Julie Berry for writing about something that doesn't appear in YA maybe ever - inquisition in 13th century Spain - and actually educating me on the subject. At the center of the story is Dolssa - basically, a girl in love with (the idea of) Jesus. Evidently, this sort of thing became a religious crime in Medieval Europe in 13th century - and so Dolssa is prosecuted and sent to death by fire. Escape. And here enters the real star of the novel - a teenage matchmaker Botille who saves and protects Dolssa. She is the heart of the book and she is the main entertainer, mover and shaker of all things. Read this book for Botille, not Dolssa. In my opinion, this novel doesn't hit quite hard enough in terms of terror of inquisition. I feel like YA can go further than Berry did here. But the book does offer a new setting and new characters and a new kind of story. I definitely need to find some adult books on the subject. Please feel free to recommend me something.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    "But I know there were many people who passed by me on my journey. And none of them were called to hear and help me. Or if any were, they did not stop. But you, Botille. You did." Julie Berry presents a novel that lays this very thought at our feet. How is it that the turn of the head or a quick glance of the eye in another's direction can change our very being in seconds? We can move on instantly, pause briefly, or we can stay and embrace the individual and the circumstances. And if we do, we ar "But I know there were many people who passed by me on my journey. And none of them were called to hear and help me. Or if any were, they did not stop. But you, Botille. You did." Julie Berry presents a novel that lays this very thought at our feet. How is it that the turn of the head or a quick glance of the eye in another's direction can change our very being in seconds? We can move on instantly, pause briefly, or we can stay and embrace the individual and the circumstances. And if we do, we are forever transformed, perhaps, into a far greater version of our former self. The Passion of Dolssa is nestled in the hills of Provensa, France in 1241 in the aftermath of the Crusades and the onset of the Inquisition. The Church has been infiltrated with the vein of a male-dominated, power-crazed, agenda-driven, poisonous flow of humanity. And this dominant hand energizes itself and feeds upon the naivete and sheer weakness of the lowly. Although designated as YA, I found the topic to be heavy and more in the wheelhouse of adult reading. Perhaps the youth of the main characters was focus-driven. Would a younger group gravitate to this subject matter and the Medieval presence of heretics in their midst? Perhaps. Dolssa possesses uncanny, unimaginable gifts that even she cannot explain. Even though she is a young gentlewoman, she has been cast out and then hunted relentlessly as a heretic in the eyes of the Church. Dolssa takes to the road scavaging whatever she can find to survive. Her escape route on dusty roads finally takes its toll and she collapses near death. And here are the soft footsteps of Botille who is drawn to the slight figure of a young girl in a tragic state of being. Botille's decision to bring Dolssa home to help heal her wounds is the pivotal point of this story. Botille and her sisters' lives will be taken in a multitude of uneven directions. The initial stages of this novel are threaded with the language and the flavor of the times. Several glossaries are incorporated at the back of the book to keep you on track. It is permeated with such human suffering, joy, interaction, and angst. Julie Berry does a fine job with her characterizations (and there are plenty of them) and their portrayals within the historical settings. Berry produces light touches of humor throughout intermixed with the deep heaviness of the reality. This was my first book by Julie Berry and I'm sure I will be searching for more.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kiki

    It's been a long time since I read a book this good. It was just excellent. Beautifully written, plotted, researched, and absolutely heartbreaking. RTC, maybe, because I don't really know how I can shape my feelings for this into more than a handful of words. It's been a long time since I read a book this good. It was just excellent. Beautifully written, plotted, researched, and absolutely heartbreaking. RTC, maybe, because I don't really know how I can shape my feelings for this into more than a handful of words.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ☆☽Erica☾☆

    This was powerful. I have never read a book quite like this. It has a timelessness to it that is somewhat indescribable. With this book, Julie Berry has created an extremely realistic reimagination of the 1200s and the religious terror that plagued the world. Her titular character, Dolssa, is deemed a heretic for her miraculous abilities and belief that she is in direct contact with Jesus. She is sentenced to death but escapes, wandering the countryside until a girl named Botille stumbles upon her This was powerful. I have never read a book quite like this. It has a timelessness to it that is somewhat indescribable. With this book, Julie Berry has created an extremely realistic reimagination of the 1200s and the religious terror that plagued the world. Her titular character, Dolssa, is deemed a heretic for her miraculous abilities and belief that she is in direct contact with Jesus. She is sentenced to death but escapes, wandering the countryside until a girl named Botille stumbles upon her and takes her in with the help of her two sisters. Dolssa originally stays hidden, since various religious men are searching for her, but in a time of need, she heals a sick child in the town. Soon, the word of her gifts travel to other families and eventually across the country, bringing the religious men straight towards her. The story is heavily researched and based loosely on stories of actual women who preached during this time period. I can't fathom all the work that needed to be done in order to make this book seem as authentic as it was. There are even research materials and indexes in the back of the book to back up this claim. At times, this book is absolutely terrifying, and not in a thriller-horror-movie kind of way. The events that take place here are horrifying because these things actually happened. People were deemed heretics and burned at the stake, they were silenced in the most gruesome ways possible, and their villages were burned because they sympathized with someone the church deemed heretical. And in some parts of the world, people still face these horrific events even nowadays. What immediately came to mind as I read Dolssa's tale was the events of the Salem Witch Trials. They have a lot of similarities. I usually don't read historical fiction, nor is it my favorite genre by any means. So, enjoyment-wise, I didn't feel taken on a pleasurable adventure reading this book. Rather, I felt compelled to continue because I was genuinely curious about what would happen to the characters, which I think says a lot. The context of this book is one that I would have quickly dnf'd if not for this fact. On a side note, I was, for some reason, under the impression that there were LGBT characters in this book before reading it. For anyone also under the same assumption, there are not. I was waiting for them, wondering how they would fit into the story, but they don't exist. Maybe the blurb confused me? I also saw this book on a LGBT list here on Goodreads, so I'm honestly pretty confused about why it was on there. Maybe the context of Dolssa and Batille's relationship? Which seems like a strange interpretation of their spiritual love for each other. Maybe I'm just viewing this wrong though, not sure. Bottom line though, this is a must read for fans of historical fiction. It is powerful, brilliantly written, and sometimes gut-wrenching, but will make you think about it long after you've finished.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    “For my sake, guard your tongue to guard your life, my daughter.” 4 1/2 stars. This book was a brilliant, heartfelt, and mesmerizing retelling of historical fiction. The story opens in the thirteenth century, where a historian is recording the tale of Dolssa, a young Christian woman who was condemned as a heretic by the Catholic Church and hunted down to be burned at the stake. The plot was truly horrifying and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The first thing that drew me in was the writi “For my sake, guard your tongue to guard your life, my daughter.” 4 1/2 stars. This book was a brilliant, heartfelt, and mesmerizing retelling of historical fiction. The story opens in the thirteenth century, where a historian is recording the tale of Dolssa, a young Christian woman who was condemned as a heretic by the Catholic Church and hunted down to be burned at the stake. The plot was truly horrifying and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The first thing that drew me in was the writing. The language held an ancient quality with old words, strange terms, and unfamiliar names. For example, this book is set in Provence, France, but at the time, it was known as "Provensa." Julie Berry did a marvelous job at making me feel like I was living during the time era. She added so many details that enriched the story - peasants pressing grapes into wine with their bare feet, three sisters running a tavern by themselves, the threat of poverty, and farmers tending to their crops and animals. I grew to care so much for the lifelike, dynamic characters - Dolssa, with her kindness and strong spirit, Botille, the spunky matchmaker, her supportive sisters Sazia and Plazensa, and the frustrating but charming Symo. The chapters alternate point of views between Dolssa, Botille, and the friars. When Dolssa manages to escape imminent death and finds herself on the run from the obsessive Friar Lucien, she stumbles upon Botille's poor and simple village. I became so caught up in the plot as the characters battled trials - their struggles felt real and important. Dolssa's refusal to back down from what she believed in was so inspiring - even if you aren't a Christian I think you will be able to appreciate her courage and sacrifice. “These voices from the past had arisen like ghosts demanding to be heard.” Though this book is centered around well-researched religion in the thirteenth century, it's about so much more than that - the story races by at a heart-pounding speed as themes of love, devotion, selflessness, and family are explored. This is fresh, well-written YA.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    This novel delivers on its claim of 'keeping you on the edge of your seat'. I sat on the edge of that seat for the duration. I loved Botille so much that I found myself rushing through the other narrorators to get back to her. She is definitely a character that will stay with me. The only reason this is not getting a overall 5 star is because the ending had me a bit confused. Still a wonderful novel that I highly recommend without hesitation. 4.5 stars. This novel delivers on its claim of 'keeping you on the edge of your seat'. I sat on the edge of that seat for the duration. I loved Botille so much that I found myself rushing through the other narrorators to get back to her. She is definitely a character that will stay with me. The only reason this is not getting a overall 5 star is because the ending had me a bit confused. Still a wonderful novel that I highly recommend without hesitation. 4.5 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emelia

    This book certainly took me by surprise ! This will be a short review as there is no way I can describe this book without ruining it for readers and falling short of giving this book the praise it deserves. I was not familiar with Julie Berry or her books, however if this book is an example of the subjects she writes, then I intend to read a lot more of her ! The Passion of Dolssa is a remarkable book to say the least. While it is considered a YA book, in my opinion it is a far cry from a YA book This book certainly took me by surprise ! This will be a short review as there is no way I can describe this book without ruining it for readers and falling short of giving this book the praise it deserves. I was not familiar with Julie Berry or her books, however if this book is an example of the subjects she writes, then I intend to read a lot more of her ! The Passion of Dolssa is a remarkable book to say the least. While it is considered a YA book, in my opinion it is a far cry from a YA book ! I read it in two days spending a night absorbing it, it is just that good. The year is 1241 and Dolssa, is a well-to-do young woman who spends her days in conversation with her "Beloved" and lives a quiet life in Provensa, France with her family. That is until she is discovered by an obsessed priest that ends up wanting her burned as a heretic. Dolssa finds herself on the run after she is rescued from the fires of the stake by a mysterious savior. She is found, near death....stinking and filthy; literally rotting from her cuts and damaged feet...by one of the most unlikely heroines, Botille, and her two sisters. And what follows is filled with moments of laughter, joy, and great sadness. Without going into detail and spoiling the book for future readers, of which I hope there are many, this book is about faith, love, compassion, and redemption....and life. A book that Berry masterfully weaves with words that will, like myself, keep the reader up at night. The characters are ones you come to love; the story one which lingers in the back of your mind for weeks to come. A book that deserves to be read more than once. If you like history, strong female characters, and a story that grabs you, holds you, and will not let you go until the last word has been read, then I suggest you picking up the book of Dolssa. Trust me, you will not regret it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    This book ripped a piece of my heart out, crushed it under its heel, then spread it on toast and ate it for breakfast. And that's a compliment! The story looked the time of the European crusades and inquisitions right in the eye and didn't flinch from telling and showing all the evils perpetrated in the name of "God" (but really done for power). That smoke wisping around the girl on the cover of the book? Not just an artistic touch, and I can hardly express the horror I felt when I realized that This book ripped a piece of my heart out, crushed it under its heel, then spread it on toast and ate it for breakfast. And that's a compliment! The story looked the time of the European crusades and inquisitions right in the eye and didn't flinch from telling and showing all the evils perpetrated in the name of "God" (but really done for power). That smoke wisping around the girl on the cover of the book? Not just an artistic touch, and I can hardly express the horror I felt when I realized that. This book was completely absorbing, and I give Julie Berry huge credit for her research and excellent writing, which made thirteenth century Provensa come to vivid life. I fell in love with every single character, and experienced their lives right along with them. I'm trying to come up with a coherent review, but I can't make any promises.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Breathtaking. A beautiful, spiritual, gritty, and heartfelt take on Christian mysticism and life in Provence in the 13th century. I did not know about the Albigensian crusade, or how the Inquisitors got started. In addition to this beautifully researched novel, there are extensive notes at the end of the book that are just as fascinating. I could not put this book down! It made me laugh and cry, and it also made me more than a little jealous. I mean, the writing is so lush, the characters so rea Breathtaking. A beautiful, spiritual, gritty, and heartfelt take on Christian mysticism and life in Provence in the 13th century. I did not know about the Albigensian crusade, or how the Inquisitors got started. In addition to this beautifully researched novel, there are extensive notes at the end of the book that are just as fascinating. I could not put this book down! It made me laugh and cry, and it also made me more than a little jealous. I mean, the writing is so lush, the characters so real, it's just . . . breathtaking!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    I listened to the very excellent audiobook version of The Passion of Dolssa, while leafing through the pdf ebook. The main narrator, Jayne Entwistle, was brilliant. Berry's writing style and characters are so vivid, it was like watching a movie version of this captivating story right in my living room. You don't have to be religious to enjoy this beautifully told tale of religious persecution, fanaticism at its worst, and faith at its best. Dolssa was too good for this flawed world. By contrast, I listened to the very excellent audiobook version of The Passion of Dolssa, while leafing through the pdf ebook. The main narrator, Jayne Entwistle, was brilliant. Berry's writing style and characters are so vivid, it was like watching a movie version of this captivating story right in my living room. You don't have to be religious to enjoy this beautifully told tale of religious persecution, fanaticism at its worst, and faith at its best. Dolssa was too good for this flawed world. By contrast, Botille and her sisters lived by their wits: scam artists, liars and thieves, the lot of them. So many lives were touched by Dolssa's unique relationship with her "Beloved." It saddens me that despite all of the historical lessons of the past, many still seek to stamp out ideologies that conflict or threaten with prevailing regimes. Ignorance is a major specter in this story. Ignorance usually breeds and lives off of fear, and gives power to those who seek to use this lack of knowledge and understanding to further their own agenda. Interesting how the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same, in many respects. Knowledge and understanding are key to fostering tolerance in this world. I wonder if someone will ever create an "ap" for this? Seems to be the only way to get this message across, these days. I've become a huge fan of Julie Berry's books. I've ordered her latest book (Lovely War) and plan to listen to/read that one as well. All the Truth That is in Me is another excellent ebook/audibook that I have read and listened to several times during this Self Isolation/Quarantine. I was not surprised to find that Julie Berry has written poetry as well. Her writing is so bewitchingly lyrical. I can't listen to her books while I am working because her words hold me in complete thrall. I rate this one a 10 stars out of 5 - it was that good! Highly, highly recommended!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christine PNW

    This book is breathtaking. Best book I've read this year. Julie Berry has just blown me away. This book is breathtaking. Best book I've read this year. Julie Berry has just blown me away.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)

    See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from Amazon Vine. Hi, my name is Paige and I have been emotionally traumatized by The Passion of Dolssa. I deeply disliked one previous book by Julie Berry and flat-out DNFed another, so to say this was unexpected is an understatement. But this is what second chances are for! The Passion of Dolssa is the reason I never truly give up on an author if I dislike one of their books: because I would have missed an incredible, sob-inducin See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from Amazon Vine. Hi, my name is Paige and I have been emotionally traumatized by The Passion of Dolssa. I deeply disliked one previous book by Julie Berry and flat-out DNFed another, so to say this was unexpected is an understatement. But this is what second chances are for! The Passion of Dolssa is the reason I never truly give up on an author if I dislike one of their books: because I would have missed an incredible, sob-inducing read otherwise. It took me a little while to get fully invested in the novel, admittedly. I started it on an airplane and had to split my brainpower between reading and listening to Hamilton. Not the brightest idea; if Hamilton is on, it swamps whatever else is competing for your attention. Anyway, it begins with a simple frame narrative: in 1290, a friar finds records from 1267 surrounding the heretical mystic Dolssa de Stigata. With so many pieces to the story and no truth apparent, he strives to put the pieces together and figure out exactly what happened. Being an English major really makes you appreciate framed narratives, but even if I weren’t, I’d still be in love with the epistolary style. Testimony from our primary narrator Botille, excerpts from Dolssa’s own writings as she hid from inquisitors, further records from the friar who wants to see Dolssa burned,… Berry and her well-drawn characters weave a tale so intriguing that it’s no wonder her friar wants so desperately to understand what happened! He himself says he plans to burn the account after writing it. That emphasis on how history is written, rewritten, and erased as time goes on makes Dolssa and Botille’s tale–because it is the tale of both girls–that much more touching. For a little while, I forgot they were fictional characters. Berry’s prose made me feel like I was suffering alongside them and trying to dodge determined inquisitors. Speaking of suffering,… If you get as drawn into the story as I did, the last eighty pages or so are going to cause emotional trauma, sobbing, a book coma, and just plain pain. After Storytime with Jobau started, I was a wreck and couldn’t stop myself from crying no matter what I did. My ARC is wrecked from how much I cried in it. AND I’M CRYING RIGHT NOW TYPING THIS UP. When I finished, I proceeded to cry some more when I pulled down my sleep mask to go to bed–because I gave up sleep for the book and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. I have almost nothing bad to say. Mostly that the book is a teensy bit longer than it needs to be I wanted more of Dolssa’s point of view and she was a bit more like a plot device than a character at times. But that last bit didn’t stop me from sobbing at THINGS. Still so, so good. Considering the above point that my ARC is irreparably damaged from my crying, I’m going to need a hardcover of The Passion of Dolssa when it hits shelves. (Or maybe an ebook I can’t possibly ruin the pages of. My ereaders are durable suckers.) If you love historical fiction, YA, or just want something that’ll make you cry, I’d recommend this. But do I really want you to suffer like me? Yes. Yes I do.

  16. 5 out of 5

    LaMesha

    Such an Amazing Read!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    When I went into The Passion of Dolssa, I really wasn't expecting much. I didn't know what I was getting into because it had been a while since I initially put it on my wishlist and because I got it from the library, I never bothered to reread what it is about. When I started it and realized that it would have a religious theme, I was put off but I decided to give it a chance. And this is one of those book where I'm incredibly glad that I did. Don't be fooled by the religious elements in this book. When I went into The Passion of Dolssa, I really wasn't expecting much. I didn't know what I was getting into because it had been a while since I initially put it on my wishlist and because I got it from the library, I never bothered to reread what it is about. When I started it and realized that it would have a religious theme, I was put off but I decided to give it a chance. And this is one of those book where I'm incredibly glad that I did. Don't be fooled by the religious elements in this book. It influences the setting and plotline but it's not ABOUT religion at all. Now I do have to say I grew up with Christianity so I'm not sure how this experience would be for someone who isn't really familiar with it. But I personally don't think you have to believe in anything in order to find this book enjoyable. Because at the core of it, this book is about friendship and found family. And it excels at it. I loved the relationships between the characters so much. I felt so involved in this group of people and like I was truly a part of their little clan. It was also incredibly interesting to follow this whole village through the ups and downs and how some people turned out to be not as much part of our little family than we had hoped. There's happiness and sadness, grief, hope, love, hate, desire and it all gets shared with one another. I found the way of storytelling super enjoyable and fitting for this novel. Most of the story is told from Botille's perspective and while Dolssa has an important role in this story, Botille is definitely the main character. Spread throughout the novel we also have Dolssa's point of view, some witness testimonies from people on Dolssa's journey and other seemingly random POV's that bring the story together so very well. There's also a wonderful subtle hate-to-love romance in here. And when I say subtle, I mean SUBTLE. It takes a long time for any confessions of feelings and when it happens, there's not much dwelling on it. This is another element that I truly loved, even though it was so small. I saw so much chemistry between the lines and I'm applauding Berry for the way she planted this throughout the novel. Overall I absolutely loved The Passion of Dolssa. This is the perfect proof that sometimes it's really good to read a little bit out of your comfort zone and give books a chance! I'd highly recommend this for fans of female friendship and found family! ♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    This the tale of Dolsa deStigata a mystic that is charged with heresy. People claim she performs miracles.She believes it is in God’s hands. Dolsa sees visions of God and hears his voice. She is on the run from the inquisitors who want to burn her at the stake. Botille is a matchmaker and encounters a dying Dolsa at the side of the road and nurses her back to health and conceals her from her persuer’s. This saga is based on several Medieval mystics, Clare of Assi, Catherine of Siena, and Theresa o This the tale of Dolsa deStigata a mystic that is charged with heresy. People claim she performs miracles.She believes it is in God’s hands. Dolsa sees visions of God and hears his voice. She is on the run from the inquisitors who want to burn her at the stake. Botille is a matchmaker and encounters a dying Dolsa at the side of the road and nurses her back to health and conceals her from her persuer’s. This saga is based on several Medieval mystics, Clare of Assi, Catherine of Siena, and Theresa of Avila and others. It is a powerful and mesmerizing novel that brought my attention to the Albigensian Crusades which I knew little about. This book is beautifully written in the language of its time and well researched There are extensive notations at the back of the book including a glossary of words used in this story. I highly recommend if you enjoy Historical Fiction

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fatma

    I'm so happy this book won a Printz Honour today! The Passion of Dolssa is AMAZING and I want everyone to read it. ----------------------------- MY HEART, HOW IT HURTS I have a feeling I'll be thinking about this book for the next couple of weeks (months, even). I cannot describe to you how much I adored Botille, her exuberant sisters, Dolssa, and Symo. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked, I was enraged. Quite simply, The Passion of Dolssa gave me ALL THE FEELINGS. Review to come. I'm so happy this book won a Printz Honour today! The Passion of Dolssa is AMAZING and I want everyone to read it. ----------------------------- MY HEART, HOW IT HURTS I have a feeling I'll be thinking about this book for the next couple of weeks (months, even). I cannot describe to you how much I adored Botille, her exuberant sisters, Dolssa, and Symo. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked, I was enraged. Quite simply, The Passion of Dolssa gave me ALL THE FEELINGS. Review to come.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    The Albigensian Crusade, better known as the Cathar Crusade (1209-1229), was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate holy men and women who were known collectively as the friends of God, in the southern region of today’s France known as Languedoc, and earlier as Provincia (the countryside). The war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1229 and established terms that eventually annexed the county of Toulouse into the kingdom of France. This story begins in 1241 with pe The Albigensian Crusade, better known as the Cathar Crusade (1209-1229), was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate holy men and women who were known collectively as the friends of God, in the southern region of today’s France known as Languedoc, and earlier as Provincia (the countryside). The war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1229 and established terms that eventually annexed the county of Toulouse into the kingdom of France. This story begins in 1241 with people still remembering the bloody crusades. Dolssa is a young gentlewoman. As a young girl her visions begin. After the death of her father, her mother is set to send her to a cloister to be a nun, since her father was against it during his life. She is 13 and already knows that cloistered life is not for her. They quarrel bitterly until the mother relents and now tries to honor her husband’s wish for their daughter to marry and have a family. But Dolssa’s heart is not with a man of flesh and blood, but with the one above her. She sees destruction, “souls darkened by loss and bitterness,” result of crusades. Then she understands her purpose in life. She wants to speak in the city squares, but her mother forbids it. It’s too dangerous. She needs to speak within the limits of their house. People come and sit outside and listen under windows. And one of those listeners is an inquisitor. Soon she is called by Inquisition to be questioned. The story is intertwined with the story of Botille, a young peasant who is a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town of Bajas. She makes her first match at the age of 13. “Make no mistake, I charged a fee. I never let qualms get in the way when money is involved.” Her sister Sasia is a soothsayer, a gift she inherited after their mother. “Sasia woke up with visions of what would befall villagers; I woke up with wedding plans.” And one of those visions takes both sisters on a road, where they find a young girl, lying by the river, skinny and hardly alive. They take her home and by this act they endanger the whole town. Both characters are very memorable, telling their own stories with original voices: one soft, the other sharp. The chapters are short, the story is engrossing, making the pages turn quickly. Loved the sharp tongue of Botille. “Focho de Capa did a little of everything, and a whole lot of nothing, but whenever there was a party, there he was, lord of the revels, master of drink, player of fidel tunes, and caller of dance step.” The main characters are fictional, but the story of Dolssa is “based on the lives of several medieval female mystics, set against one of medieval Europe’s most violent and disturbing conflicts.” Mystics such as: “Clare of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Theresa of Avila, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Julian of Norwich. (…) These women lived startling lives, attracting followers and reportedly performing miracles. They practiced seclusion or acts of charity. Most insisted on lives of chastity, wanting no husband but Jesus. This was a bold, defiant choice in a society that offered women few prospects other than marriage. (…) Those mystics who could write seemed compelled to record their experiences (…) Some were embraced by the Church and sainted after their deaths. Others were executed.” Also, highly recommend, The Treasure of Montsegur: A Novel of the Cathars by Sophy Burnham @FB/BestHistoricalFiction

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    4 stars--I really liked it. However, it was also really, really sad. I'm not going to spoil just how it was sad, but if you like happy endings, give this one a pass. The best part of this book isn't Dolssa and her visions, nor is it the day-to-day re-creation of medieval life (though those were both interesting). The best part of this book is the character of Botille. She's strong, sassy, stubborn, greedy, and also very compassionate. I adored her, and her sisters. This is an enjoyable historical 4 stars--I really liked it. However, it was also really, really sad. I'm not going to spoil just how it was sad, but if you like happy endings, give this one a pass. The best part of this book isn't Dolssa and her visions, nor is it the day-to-day re-creation of medieval life (though those were both interesting). The best part of this book is the character of Botille. She's strong, sassy, stubborn, greedy, and also very compassionate. I adored her, and her sisters. This is an enjoyable historical fiction with just a touch of supernatural (or is it?). Recommended.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rissa

    I didnt like the writing but I did appreciate the depth of the characters.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Cunningham

    Julie Berry’s THE PASSION OF DOLSSA is the saga of 18-year-old Dolssa de Stigata, a 13th century Catholic mystic who is charged with heresy by the Church in the town of Tolosa (called Toulouse in modern-day France). Dolssa claims that Jesus is her “Beloved,” that she has heard his voice, seen his face, and felt his arms around her. She preaches his word in her home, where people gather in reverence. This is what alarms the Catholic Church and its inquisitors, and Dolssa is arrested, branded a he Julie Berry’s THE PASSION OF DOLSSA is the saga of 18-year-old Dolssa de Stigata, a 13th century Catholic mystic who is charged with heresy by the Church in the town of Tolosa (called Toulouse in modern-day France). Dolssa claims that Jesus is her “Beloved,” that she has heard his voice, seen his face, and felt his arms around her. She preaches his word in her home, where people gather in reverence. This is what alarms the Catholic Church and its inquisitors, and Dolssa is arrested, branded a heretic, and sentenced to be burned. By some miracle (divine or otherwise), Dolssa escapes death and goes on the run, where she meets Botille and her two sisters, who offer her sanctuary and aid. But the Church has a long reach, and an even longer memory, and Dolssa’s fate may already have been written in flames. I’m not sure what to make of this novel. It’s being marketed as a Young Adult book, for readers age 12 and up. But it’s hard to imagine any young teen being interested in this long, introspective tale of mysticism, religious persecution, and political savagery. The tale is told from several perspectives – most notably Dolssa’s and Botille’s, but also those of the clergy who are bent on destroying Dolssa and the various witnesses who are interviewed by the inquisitors. The narrative is set in medieval France, and snippets of Old Provincial French are sprinkled throughout the story. And there’s little actual plot to keep younger readers engaged. Dolssa runs away, Botille finds her, and they hide out for a while in a seaside village. When the Church and its inquisitors finally show up, we know what will happen. The only questions are when and how. As an adult reader, I found myself intrigued by the history this novel presents. The Catholic Church, fresh from Crusades, is bent on burning out any so-called heretics who claim a relationship with God that does not come through the Church and its clergy. Dolssa is an innocent, with little understanding of what her words will mean for her and her family. But she is also a courageous young woman, whose faith is strong enough to stand up to the vicious men who would destroy her. They want her silenced; she will not cooperate. She speaks because God has so ordained it, and it is abundantly clear that this young woman’s faith is more real and more honest that that of the men who run the Church, all of whom seem corrupt and self-serving. Additionally, Botille and her sisters are almost feminist in their outspokenness and stubbornness. In an era where women had little standing and no power, these three are able to run their own business (a saloon) and make enough money to support themselves without the assistance of husbands or fathers. They are definitely strong role models, and their courage and resilience is what enables Dolssa to evade capture for most of the novel. Botille is a matchmaker, earning money for arranging marriages between her friends and neighbors. Her younger sister is a fortune teller (which could be considered heresy, too, although it’s not mentioned here), and her older sister, a raving beauty, rejects potential suitors for the freedom afforded her in running the saloon. While these hardly seem like 13th century women, they provide a clear contrast with the nefarious clergy bent on bringing down Dolssa (and anyone who listens to her). There seems to be a tendency to assume that any novel with teenage characters (Dolssa is 18 and Botille is 17) is YA. But this reads like an adult historical novel with a heavily religious message. I taught high school for many years, and I’ve come across few (if any) teenagers who would have willingly gotten past the first chapter of this book. That said, I can recommend this to adult readers interested in the historical period or in religious mystics or in gender politics. There are fascinating elements here, and both Dolssa and Botille are engaging characters. But if you’re considering this for a teen reader, I’d suggest checking out the “Look Inside This Book” feature (which should be available once the book is actually released) to get a feel for how the novel is written. I’d give it four stars as an adult novel, and two stars as YA – as an average, I guess three stars is fair. [Please note: I was provided a copy of this novel for review; the opinions expressed here are my own.]

  24. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I think I need to accept that a large chunk of* historical fiction leaves me cold. Here, it could partially be the characters, too, though this is certainly competently written. This novel centers on a very difficult time period and isn't a very happy story. At some point I need to consider how I read historical fiction as an issue book - because somehow, I read it as "things you need to know about our difficult or complicated or terrible past," and often there's a heavy-handedness in the text as I think I need to accept that a large chunk of* historical fiction leaves me cold. Here, it could partially be the characters, too, though this is certainly competently written. This novel centers on a very difficult time period and isn't a very happy story. At some point I need to consider how I read historical fiction as an issue book - because somehow, I read it as "things you need to know about our difficult or complicated or terrible past," and often there's a heavy-handedness in the text as a result. Even in a book that's meticulously researched (this feels like one), there's that sense of meticulous research. Characters aren't given space to breathe. *Qualified per Hallie :D

  25. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    My first 5-star read of 2019! To think I had it on my shelf for almost two years before finally picking it up. Fans of historical fiction who enjoy it best when books break your heart, I have found your new favorite story. I'll never forget these characters. I really don't know what to say other than this book is both beautiful and sad. My first 5-star read of 2019! To think I had it on my shelf for almost two years before finally picking it up. Fans of historical fiction who enjoy it best when books break your heart, I have found your new favorite story. I'll never forget these characters. I really don't know what to say other than this book is both beautiful and sad.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    I’ve owned this book since right after it came out and never picked it up. Shameful, I know. Turns out, I’m actually really glad that I waited to read this, because I don’t think I would have enjoyed this nearly as much a year and a half ago. This story takes place in 1241 (and really, how many YA novels have you seen that take place during that time period?) and follows a young woman, Dolssa, who has been branded a heretic and is on the run from a friar determined to execute her. The story is to I’ve owned this book since right after it came out and never picked it up. Shameful, I know. Turns out, I’m actually really glad that I waited to read this, because I don’t think I would have enjoyed this nearly as much a year and a half ago. This story takes place in 1241 (and really, how many YA novels have you seen that take place during that time period?) and follows a young woman, Dolssa, who has been branded a heretic and is on the run from a friar determined to execute her. The story is told from the POV of another girl, Batille, a matchmaker who, along with her friends, decide to help Dolssa hide. Who knew a book set in 1241 could be this tense, this gripping. The first fifty pages, I was on the fence. I was surprised at how quickly I got invested in this story and the characters. This is actually a pretty emotional book - the characters are distinct and I really cared about what would happen to them. There are horrifying parts of this book, and some heartwarming ones as well. And don’t worry about the writing being dense due to the time period. Sure, it’s not going to read like a book set in the 2000s, but it’s very readable. I actually read this book in one sitting - as soon as I hit that 50-ish page mark, I could not put this down. I wouldn’t recommend going in knowing too much about this one - let it surprise you! Highly recommended to anyone who is willing to be slightly patient at the beginning.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    I was unprepared for this novel. I suppose because it is sold as YA, I expected something "lighter." But the fact it is a Printz honor book should have tipped me off to the fact that it would be special. The Passion of Dolssa is a tapestry of multiple voices both pursuing and being pursued during the early days of the Inquisition. While the story of Dolssa and her rescuer, Botille, is fictitious, the plot is based on the accounts of several medieval female mystics. The charges of heresy were very I was unprepared for this novel. I suppose because it is sold as YA, I expected something "lighter." But the fact it is a Printz honor book should have tipped me off to the fact that it would be special. The Passion of Dolssa is a tapestry of multiple voices both pursuing and being pursued during the early days of the Inquisition. While the story of Dolssa and her rescuer, Botille, is fictitious, the plot is based on the accounts of several medieval female mystics. The charges of heresy were very real, during a time when women were not to be included in anything related to the Roman Catholic church. Berry's main character is an intelligent, street savvy matchmaker named Botille, who will win your heart. I was slowly drawn into this complex story. Berry is to be commended for her ability to depict different voices and points of view, and her attempts to show the side of the inquisitors. This is not to justify their condemnation nor their actions, but to show how complex human nature is, especially when cloaked under the church's protection. I'd recommend this for adults as well as teens. Well-researched and believable, this is an important fictional look at a brutal time in history.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This has been on my TBR since its 2016 publication and when it arrived in a classroom book box, I grabbed it quickly. Set in 13th century Spain, a young woman devoted to God is pursued by a monk that wants to see her burn for the heretic he believes her to be. Told with a flare for storytelling by a young woman named Botille, the book shares many different character's views. Surrounded by the themes of survival, friendship and faith, this was an uncensored look into the dawn of the Inquisition. This has been on my TBR since its 2016 publication and when it arrived in a classroom book box, I grabbed it quickly. Set in 13th century Spain, a young woman devoted to God is pursued by a monk that wants to see her burn for the heretic he believes her to be. Told with a flare for storytelling by a young woman named Botille, the book shares many different character's views. Surrounded by the themes of survival, friendship and faith, this was an uncensored look into the dawn of the Inquisition. Highly recommended! Goodreads review published 21/12/20

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cori Reed

    Although it took me months to read this book, I will say that the writing was beautiful. I am not drawn to stories with heavy religious themes, but this interesting historical setting kept me rapt throughout.

  30. 4 out of 5

    A.M.G. ☮Hippie/Fantasia☮

    Rating: 5 / 5 I. Could. Not. Stop. READING! It's been a very long time since I've read through an entire novel in one day, and yet, I just couldn't put this one down. The hook for it was interesting--the inquisition and heresy (and possibly hypocrisy, which usually goes along with the two)--but the execution of it (if you'll pardon the pun), was far better than what the summary prepared me for. I don't even know where to begin with describing just what it was that I loved about this book, so pardo Rating: 5 / 5 I. Could. Not. Stop. READING! It's been a very long time since I've read through an entire novel in one day, and yet, I just couldn't put this one down. The hook for it was interesting--the inquisition and heresy (and possibly hypocrisy, which usually goes along with the two)--but the execution of it (if you'll pardon the pun), was far better than what the summary prepared me for. I don't even know where to begin with describing just what it was that I loved about this book, so pardon me if what I list out below is in random order. First of all, Dolssa is not the heroine. Well, she is, in a way, but most of the story is told from the point of view of Botille, who is arguably a more interesting character, despite being regarded as plain, especially in comparison to Dolssa, by just about everyone in the novel. Very quickly, I was drawn more to Botille's side of the story, cared more for her wants and worries, her family and friends, her life in general. Dolssa, in comparison, to me seemed kind of like a spectre, or, indeed, a religious figure: central to the plot of the story, of course, but always distant in some way, never fully there. The descriptions of Dolssa in some parts indeed attribute her some otherworldly qualities based on how others see her, but it's more than that. The only way I can explain it is by saying that Dolssa has very few truly human moments in the book that make her relatable. Most of the time, she's lost in a dreamlike reverie, craving for her "beloved", in the form of "Senghor Jhesus" himself. Botille, on the other hand, is very much real, reveling in both the good and bad qualities of herself, making the best use of her talents and using them to her advantage. She is identified as being far below Dolssa in many ways though, whereas most of the time, I see her just as average, with a little extra wit, whereas Dolssa is more like a statue in a cathedral than an actual human being: beautiful to look at, but hard to describe otherwise, apart from her religious symbolism, or, in this case, devotion. One of the few human moments that Dolssa does have is in relation to Friar Lucien, who is, for all intents and purposes, the villain of this novel, the "mad friar". Honestly, I would prefer referring to him as "Frollo Junior" (from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo), and those who read this book will understand why. Oh, he was a fanatic and unlikable and all, but when you realize that he's only a mere representation of the Church's attitudes at the time, it makes his character all the more significant and sinister. Seriously, it's frightening to think that these guys were completely in charge at the time, with a monopoly on state as well as Church. (Although, the religious figures in this novel are anything but pious, I can assure you, which, again, is quite a reflection of history--one of the many sensitive areas that Julie Berry has dug into, but successfully so, and not in an insulting manner. The other characters are quite likable as well though, and all highly original. Botille's sisters are darlings, the townspeople of Bajas are interesting in their way of being medieval peasants, and even unexpected characters shine in the end. I'm glad that at least a few characters get a happy ending in the story, although I won't say who or what happens. Just know that it's satisfying. The glossary of terms and names at the back of the book were very helpful. The old words that are inserted into this text do give it a more authentic feel, overall. Other than that, I can only say that this was a well-spun tale that kept me riveted enough to want to know what happened immediately. It's really not often that I complete an entire 400+ book in a single day, and yet, for this one, I felt that I had to. It's interesting, well-written, original, descriptive, intriguing, and overall enjoyable. Please take a look if you should ever come across it--for all historical fiction lovers, especially of the medieval period, I guarantee a pleasant read.

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