Title: The Passion of Dolssa
Author: Julie Berry
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 (4.5) Star
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.
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I would like to thank HarperCollins Australia for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a full review! Sorry its been a long time in the making.
While I received an ARC of this book to read i noticed that my motivation for reading wasn’t very high last year when I received this book so I went out and got myself the audio book. I loved it. I would strongly recommend this books audio version. Its super easy to listen to and has good voice actors.
There was only one thing within this book that I didn’t completely fall in love with, and that was the high religious component to the plot. I don’t remember how I came about to get this book from the publishers, I don’t remember if I asked for or if it was just sent to me, and I didn’t remember this when I listened to it either so I went into this book pretty much not knowing anything about it, and I was not overly thrilled to find out that her passion was for god. Now I don’t want to offend anyone, I have nothing against people being highly Christian or anything, but I myself am Pagan so I am not really interested in reading about that Christian faith. Other stories I have reviewed such His Dark Materials have been marked down because of the high dose of religion. BUT it is major part of the story, and the more I got into it, really the less it bothered me.
The plot of this story was just spot on. It was very dark and had some pretty gruesome parts in there while also having some lighter moments. The way it was written had me waiting on the edge of my seat and making me eager to get back into the car again or made me sit in the car longer than was necessary so that I could hear the conclusion to something. I don’t remember finding anything predictable and parts of it nearly broke my heart. Everything was beautifully described and the pictures that Berry painted with her words were spot on.
All the characters in this book are well developed and thought out. There isn’t anyone in this book for the sake of trying to move something along needlessly or that seemed pointless. They were all well developed and had a purpose and enhanced the story by them being there, whether that took the story to a happy or sad place it didn’t matter. Despite the plot being very powerful this would have to be a character driven novel because each part was decided wholeheartedly by the characters.
The characters were great by themselves but they were also great in groups. Each relationship is introduced in a sort of gentle way that by the time you are done learning about each relationship you feel as though you are part of it and it just straight up hurts when something happens to any of them. You hurt because you care about them, and you hurt for those who also love them.
Something I also noticed more when picked my ARC up for this review that I feel needs mentioning as well is that Berry did a truly wonderful and great job at researching the time period that she set the book in. There are historical notes, additional readings, and glossaries for it all in the book! I think she did such a wonderful job that if you took out the dates, people could probably still work out what time frame in history they were reading about. You can also go into it knowing absolutely nothing about the 1200s and still just know and understand and visualise everything in perfect detail. I really love when an author puts that much research into their stories.
This is where I am going to leave you for this one. This book book was surprisingly good, and had me totally hooked. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction in any regard. For those who are turned off by religious things like me, take me word for it, you wont care about it by the end. I think most people would enjoy this book, if only the word of it was out a little more.
Till Next Time. . .