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The Passion of Dolssa

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,319 Ratings  ·  906 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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Popular Answered Questions

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…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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lola  Reviewer
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a precious, so very precious, novel.

I generally stand far enough away from books with too strong of a religion theme, because I tend to disagree with some things, especially the role of women, but I could not stand away from this novel any longer.

And I’m just so happy I didn’t, because THE PASSION OF DOLSSA is a remarkable tale set during medieval times in Provensa. The two main characters, Dolssa and Botille, are three-dimensional beings with so much courage and love to give.

Even though
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
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
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.
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
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 kind
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
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, 2016, ya
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
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.
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.
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 writing

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
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.
Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?
Disability: 0 (one very minor character is an alcoholic)
Intersectionality: 0

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 Dol
Moonlight Reader
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: w-o-b-b-l-e
This book is breathtaking. Best book I've read this year. Julie Berry has just blown me away.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such an Amazing Read!
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
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.
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
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
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is indeed a beautiful and timeless take of family and loyalty,friendship and devotion as quoted by Mette Ivie Harrison on the cover of the book.(longer review soon)
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Considering that i gave up on reading The Book Thief, The Passion of Dolssa would technically be the first Historical Fiction novel i've finished. It's also considered as Young Adult, but it totally didn't have the typical YA storyline and characters. I received this as an ARC(which i read like, a month after the release date lol) and I really enjoyed it! I'm rating it 4.5 stars! It absolutely warmed me up to read more Historical Fiction!

The Writing
The Passion of Dolssa is set in the thirteenth
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.
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
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in historical or mystical fiction
Definitely NOT just for Young Adults!

This is a superbly well-done novel set shortly after the Albigensian crusade in what is now Provence. The 'passion' of the title is a religious passion, not a mortal one, and Julie Berry has written a powerful book for the YA audience that elegantly introduces the concept of religious passion, a definite change from much of the YA writing being done recently.

Berry really knows this period and has clearly done her homework, not just on the socio-political real
Margaret Alyse Smith
This book was, in a word, phenomenal. In two words, phenomenal and bittersweet.

The Passion of Dolssa is truly a book that transcends time and place; a book with a message that will never grow irrelevant. Don't look to authority figures to name good people. Sometimes they will be wrong, and sometimes they will be corrupt. Decide for yourself who you will trust, decide for yourself who you will count upon and love.

Of course, in the context of the story, there is more to it than that. The titular D
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
A fascinating look into this era and all the superstitions that surrounded the heretics that were a threat to the church in medieval France. Also, I loved the author's notes at the end. (READ THEM FIRST)
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
تو قرون وسطا... یه جایی توی جنوب فرانسه... وسط جنگ های صلیبی... اون موقعی که کلیسای کاتولیک خیلی راحت می تونست با اتهام کفر و الحاد هرکسی رو که با نظرش مخالف بود یا ممکن بود براش خطری داشته باشه به آتش بکشه... و هر کسی که خواسته یا ناخواسته کمکی به کسی که باهاشون مخالف بوده کرده باشه خیلی راحت محکوم میشده... اون موقعی که قدرت کلیسا میتونست یه دهکده رو از صحنۀ روزگار محو کنه... و کسی جرات مخالفت نداشت... دخترایی زندگی میکردن که ماجرای این کتاب رو تشکیل میده...
یکی شون دختری بوده به نام دولسا که عا
The Beginning

I’m going to be completely honest here (as I always am in my reviews) and say that I wanted to DNF The Passion of Dolssa after reading the first page. Now, that might seem a little hasty, but I’ll explain it a little more. When I read the blurb for The Passion of Dolssa, I thought it was going to be historical fantasy. I mean a girl with healing powers running away from an evil guy sounds quite fantastical to me. However, when I read the first page, I realised that The Passion of Do
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, best-of-ya
- 4.5 stars -

I don't have much other to say than that I absolutely adored this book. How often do you read a YA historical novel set in 1200's France where the crusades have left their mark and the church is still hunting for people who they call heretics? That's probably never because Julie Berry's novel is a truly unique and enchanting reading experience. It's so well thought out and researched that you continuously have to remind yourself you are reading a work of fiction - the medieval set
Suraya (thesuraya)
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-2016-books
4.5 Stars

I have no words for this. It's too breathtaking and intense for me to properly form coherent words for it.

The Passion of Dolssa is a historical fiction set in medieval france with christianity as its main element, totally a new thing for me. The christianity thing made me uncomfortable though for some reason you'll know once u read this. I'm not gonna spoil it for you.

I love the Flasucra sisters. Bostille, Plazensa and Sazia have one of the greatest sisterly bond ive read in fictions.
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YA Book Buzz Book...: October 2016 Featured Group Read 1 7 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 10 Dec 29, 2015 08:19AM  
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“That which you tend, you come to adore with the kind of love that bypasses sense and reason.” 8 likes
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