Title: The Passion of Dolssa
Author: Julie Berry
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Format: Hardcover, 496 Pages
ISBN-10: 0451469925 (Penguin Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0451469922 (Penguin Teen)
Reviewed by: Bridget
I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it.
Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France is an untold story of love, loss, and wonder and the two girls at the heart of it all.
Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with a secret lover and an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she’s on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire, and wants Dolssa executed, too.
Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town of Bajas.
When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by her sisters and Symo, her surly but loyal neighbor, Botille nurses Dolssa back to health and hides her from her pursuers. But all of Botille’s tricks, tales, and cleverness can’t protect them forever, and when the full wrath of the Church bears down upon Bajas, Dolssa’s passion and Botille’s good intentions could destroy the entire village.
From the author of the award-winning All the Truth That’s in Mecomes a spellbinding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page and make you wonder if miracles really are possible.
Quick & Dirty: Interesting historical fiction that I feel very torn about. It read really slow, but I still found the way it was written quite fascinating!
Opening Sentence: I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it.
This is a tale set during medieval France and it’s about two young girls and how their friendship could change the world!
Dolssa grew up as part of the privileged people. She had good parents who were well off and she had good prospects of making either an esteemed marriage or becoming a nun! But Dolssa has a special ability and she wasn’t afraid to speak out about it. She claimed to have the power to speak with God! The church deemed her a heretic and she was sentenced to burn along with her mother. By some miracle she escapes and while fleeing she becomes unlikely friends with Botille!
Botille is a witty young women who enjoys being a matchmaker in her small village! She grew up poor and for years her and her sisters used to steal to provide for them sleeves. Luckily they have changed their circumstances and now they try to stay on the right side of the law! When Botille runs into an injured and dying girl near a riverbank she doesn’t hesitate to help.
Dolssa and Botille form a strong friendship while Dolssa is nursed back to health. But the church is still looking for Dolssa, and if they find her it could mean the destruction of not only them but the whole village!
Dolssa was a hard character to connect with at times. Honestly, she was just hard to understand. She grew up in a wealthy family but she claimed to be visited by God and it just seemed a little weird. Dolssa was a smart girl but at times she didn’t seem to have much common sense. She was very ignorant to what the world was truly like and it got frustrating at times. I did like how resourceful and determined she was. Dolssa never gave up fighting for what she believed in and that was very admirable! She also shows a great amount of growth throughout the story and ultimately I did like her character! But like I already said, her story was hard to understand and sadly it made it really hard to connect with her for much of the story!
Botille was probably my favorite character in the book. She was so witty and being inside her head was very entertaining. I loved watching her make matches and she was just an all around good person. Sure she has some bad habits but that just added to her charm. I really enjoyed her parts of the story and thought she was a very fun character.
The Passion of Dolssa was a very interesting read and I honestly can’t decide what to think of it. This is one of those books you have to take the time to savor it so you can fully appreciate the message the author is trying to convey! To be perfectly honest, I think that is one of the reasons I struggled with it. I have a hectic life with four kids, a part time job, and a review schedule I have to follow. I don’t have a ton of time to focus on one book. I did find the story intriguing, but I also found it a little difficult to read. The format and the language were hard to follow at times and like I said, it is a book you really need to focus on to understand it. I do think the author did an amazing job capturing the brutality of the time period. The setting and the characters felt very realistic. The pacing was slow but it fit the story perfectly. As you can tell, I am rather torn over what I thought of the book. If you are a history fan I think you will really enjoy this story, but if you are looking for a quick easy read this is not the book for you!
Something struck my ankles, then my wrists, bound behind me.
So soft was the word in my ear that I didn’t believe it.
Hands plucked the cords from my wrists and ankles and steadied me.
“Run,” said the voice again. I saw no one. Hands seized, my arms and steered my body away from the flames. From the friars and the bayle’s constables. Hands pushed me on my way, so to keep from falling, I ran.
FTC Advisory: Penguin provided me with a copy of The Passion of Dolssa. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.