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The Passion of Dolssa

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  6,080 ratings  ·  1,287 reviews
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
Hardcover, 478 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Julie Hi there, Tianna,
Thanks for your question. Perhaps I can help. I'm not sure which parts might seem sacrilegious, but I'm guessing it might be Dolssa's…more
Hi there, Tianna,
Thanks for your question. Perhaps I can help. I'm not sure which parts might seem sacrilegious, but I'm guessing it might be Dolssa's relationship with her beloved that you're referring to. In that instance, those details are taken right out history, with many mystics, both men and women, describing their relationships with Jesus in passionate, romantic, and sexual terms. I had to dial down the heat on it for modern readers. :) Those medievals were in many ways less inhibited that even we are today. Thanks for reading and chiming in!
Julie Berry(less)
Julie An excellent question! The general range of time for the European witch hunts was 1450 to 1750. Alarm over heresy happened for centuries before that a…moreAn excellent question! The general range of time for the European witch hunts was 1450 to 1750. Alarm over heresy happened for centuries before that and came to a crest in Provence / France in the early 13 Century. During the time range of this novel, witchcraft wasn't a concern in the slightest. Court magicians were found throughout Europe, even in church courts. The inquisitors who were alarmed over heresy in 13th Century Provence didn't care a fig about witchcraft or fortunetelling, etc. They were part of everyday life, and when brought up in an inquisitor's interrogation, the inquisitor didn't even bat an eye. (less)

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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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. ...more
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
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
Emily May
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
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.
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-historical
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
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“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
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kayla Elmquist, Laurie Henderson
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 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
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Susan's Reviews
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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,
Christine PNW
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is breathtaking. Best book I've read this year. Julie Berry has just blown me away. ...more
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, favorites
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
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Such an Amazing Read!
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.
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
I'm so happy this book won a Printz Honour today! The Passion of Dolssa is AMAZING and I want everyone to read it.



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.
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
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
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didnt like the writing but I did appreciate the depth of the characters.
Kathy Cunningham
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
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. ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-borrowed
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.
Cori Reed
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
A.M.G. ☮Hippie/Fantasia☮
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any lovers of historical fiction for the medieval period.
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
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YA Book Buzz Book...: October 2016 Featured Group Read 1 8 Sep 09, 2016 09:22PM  
DC Public Library: The Passion of Dolssa 1 26 Aug 07, 2016 08:21AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 12 Dec 29, 2015 08:19AM  

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