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Listen to the Wind

(The Orphans of Tolosa #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Two orphans flee for their lives during the last crusade of the French against the Cathar heretics in the Midi. With no knowledge of their past, they are drawn onward to an uncertain future where they face unimaginable peril. Will they discover the secret of their origins and fulfill their destiny?
Kindle Edition, 311 pages
Published April 22nd 2019 by Bellastoria Press
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Literary Redhead
I’m a history major whose jam is the 20th century, but the author’s first in an intended trilogy made 13th century France come alive for me as no history book has done. It’s the story of two orphans, Azalaïs and Azemar, who get separated through heartbreaking circumstances and their arduous journey back to each other. Dunlap weaves a hypnotic tale that fully immerses you in the period and happily keeps you lost, unwilling to leave their world at the end. So looking forward to the next book in th ...more
Amy Bruno
I stayed up way too late last night and Susanne Dunlap is entrely to blame! It was just to hard to put down Listen to the Wind and I have no will power but I sure slept soundly after finishing this incredible novel.

Listen to the Wind features Azalais and Azemar who are living in an Orphanage in Tolosa at the beginning of the novel. The two friends spent their days playing fantasty games of knights and damsels, until one day their Orphange gets raided. A recent illness in the town is being blamed
Dee Arr
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While I love to read historical fiction, I have to admit that 13th century France is not one of the areas where I have much knowledge. Author Susanne Dunlop’s well-written knowledge helped greatly with my initial foray into the area, effortlessly blending the history into a compelling story of the fates of two orphans.

Azalais and Alemar are the two orphans, and the author wastes no time uprooting them from their current lives into new paths that are fraught with danger. Ms. Dunlop mixes the hist
Kate Eminhizer
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to win a copy of this title in advance. Dunlap brings us back to a time of religious upheaval where defying the king and the pope could get you killed. In a land saturated with fear and uncertainty two orphans struggle to find their way back to each other. Along their travels they each learn much about their own resilience and the culture around them. This book is extremely well researched. Dunlap does a tremendous job in describing the lifestyle of so many different classes o ...more
Frankie (Chicks, Rogues and Scandals)
Well, what can I say about this book? Thrilling, engaging, illuminating and brilliantly entwined with history and a wonderfully complex story. It takes you on a real adventure through 13th Centaury France, the colourful writing makes every scene so beautifully detailed and vivid you can see it playout like a film in your mind.

I haven’t read any of Susanne Dunlap’s work before, but after reading this – or should that be; devoured – I will definitely be reading more, her writing is so imaginative
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book!! Xx
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh cruel fate! I must now suffer the months til. The Spirit of Fire is released! A medieval plot to love. Ms. Dunlap has a way with words & her characters are fully fleshed out. She details the lives of people in 11th century France. You can learn history & still be entertained.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me high, then low, and then high again. Beautifully written, thanks to the author who sent me a signed copy, my daughter in law will enjoy it next, on loan only.
Sarah Sabin
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Amy Bruno
Shelves: gifted
Synopsis: Set in the 13th century at the end of the crusades, orphans Azalaïs and Azemar get separated when they escape the band of outlaws who they thought were their protectors. Along their journeys to find each other again, they are met with trial after trial and begin to discover that they are linked to a mysterious past.

Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap was my very first experience reading a book set before the Revolutionary War. I wasn't sure how I would receive the time period at first
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not normally a reader of Historical Fiction, but this title was recommended to me by a friend who is a huge fan of historical fiction. The historical accuracy of this book was astounding. It was evident that the author did a lot of research and made it a priority to paint a picture for readers that truly transports them back in time. In the beginning I found it a little difficult to keep up with some of the French terminology, but I quickly got used to it, and was able to understand everyth ...more
Hannah | thebookwormsfeast
Susanne Dunlap brings to life 13th Century France masterfully in this tale. Although I do not know much about the era, this book brought back memories as reading Kate Mosse's Labyrinth - a book I completely adore. I have much the same feelings for Listen to the Wind.

Our two central characters, Azemar and Azalaïs, are separated as children after they are hunted through the forest they live in together. We follow their stories as they wend their way through life, struggling to find each other, wit
Amba Kumar
This novel has alot of potential - lots of interesting ideas and the medieval Languedoc setting is one of the richest settings for a historical novel. I liked the set up of Azemar and Azelais being separated as children and having to make their own way before coming together again. At times it feels a bit slow and I think this is because the author doesn't paint the characters very richly, there is a lot of action and transaction described but you don't get an understanding of what motivates the ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#ListenToTheWind #NetGalley I received this ARC for a review, and found it enjoyable. It was a bit reminiscent of Roland at Roncevaux., although a different era..

"Two orphans flee for their lives during the last crusade of the French against the Cathar heretics in the Midi. With no knowledge of their past, they are drawn onward to an uncertain future where they face unimaginable peril. Will they discover the secret of their origins and fulfill their destiny?"

Azalais and Azemar, together through
Linda Rosen
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love reading historical fiction: WWI, WWII, Revolutionary and Civil Wars and even Tudor England (how can you not love Henry and Anne?) – but I just took a trip out of my comfort zone and read an adventure story all-be-it historical fiction, too. If you love adventure, you’ll enjoy Listen to the Wind: The Orphans of Tolosa, the first of a trilogy by Susanne Dunlap. Plunge yourself into thirteenth century France with its knights, monks, jousting and troubadours all mixed with Dunlap’s impeccable ...more
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel, the beginning of a series, traces the lives and traumas of two childhood friends who are unexpectedly separated and equally unexpectedly reunited, and those around them, including genial friars, evil monks, a rapist, his horrible mother, a loyal servant, and more. Set in the thirteenth century, the book is well-researched if somewhat purple in its prose. The plot is fine, although it is a bit cliched: a peasant girl disguises herself as a boy, then participates in a bed-trick, swappi ...more
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pace of the story is very fast for a novel first of a series, it does not feel like Susanne Dunlap is short of ideas for the characters. Placed in a remoted country in a past that everybody wants to forget, when the French monarchy was fighting to extend its realm to Langue D'Oc, at any costs, including massacres. the novel, step by step, explains how the "heretics" who survived Simon de Montfort attacks, were obliged to stay in the hiding and fight for their survival. A lot of novels alread ...more
Ginger Pollard
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a story! I could have read this book in one sitting, but I had grandchildren for a few days and I had to sneak my reading time, as my granddaughter demands all of me!
This book starts out fantastic and just gets better and better! Well developed characters that the author makes you care about, adventures all the way through, very hard to put down! This book will keep you up all night!
There's definitely a cliffhanger. I will have to wait patiently for the next book!
I received an ARC of t
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here’s my review for Book Club Babble:

Susanne Dunlap’s Listen to the Wind is an engaging work of historical fiction replete with sympathetic characters. The novel is set in thirteenth-century Languedoc, a time when families are torn apart by religious persecution. Azemar and Azalaïs are given into the “care” of a band of outlaws when they are very young, supposedly for their own protection. When fate casts the friends separate ways, they vow to meet again. Survivors at their core, each creates a
Traci Medford-Rosow
I was captivated by Susanne Dunlap’s latest historical fiction from page one. Strong characters, vivid scenes of southern France in the 13th century, castles, intrigue and a plot with more twists than a pretzel, is just the beginning of the enjoyment of Listen to the Wind.
The story is full of hidden treasures. One of many was a subliminal message that penetrated into my inner being without my awareness that it was happening. To simply get a message to someone in the 13th century, a person had t
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Listen to the Wind, the first book of The Orphans of Tolosa series, it was a pretty good story. It was well written and the characters were interesting. I look forward to reading the next in the series.
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once upon a time, I fell down the research rabbit hole to write a paper on Cathars and the crusade against them, so it was a mixed pleasure to be able to read this novel and revisit that world again. Mixed as a visit to that sun-drenched place in the South of France, the music, the people and their culture is overshadowed by the coming of the northern knights. Ugh, crusade. Invasion and takeover; death and destruction.

Orphaned brother and sister Azalais and Azemar live in the woods with a gang o
Rebecca Hill
Azalais did not know the direction that her life would take when she was picked up by the young noblewoman on the side of the road. Now, she carries a dreadful secret, one that could spell death for her if she and the others are found out.
As she searches for her friend, she is thrust into a role that she was never meant to play, one that could ruin more than one family if the deception is uncovered.

This was a great book! I absolutely loved it!
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book. Holy crap. I’ve always enjoyed Ms. Dunlap’s books, I love her attention to detail, her dedication to bringing history to life, to picking those figures who perhaps you’ve heard of, but know little about them. In this particular tome, we’re brought back to thirteenth-century Languedoc. (Modern Day France.) Two Orphans are separated from one another, and in their journey to find one another again, they face numerous trials. This is the end of the Crusades, which you can imagine brought ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This wonderful story is set in France when the Huguenots are under siege by the Catholics and there is no place to hide. Two young children, Azemar and Azalaïs, are suddenly sent to live with a group of other children in the forest, watched over by adults they do not know. Then one day their lives, precarious as they already are, are overturned when they must flee a group of knights. The two agree to meet up but years pass. Azemar is taken in by a merchant family and Azalais lives as a boy with ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, novel
I met the author at a book fair and took a chance on reading something a little out of my usual genre. I do enjoy historical fiction, but usually not from France or the 13th Century. But it was well worth a jaunt into a world I knew little about (until now!) and to enjoy a story that moves along with a lot of action. At the beginning of the book I was worried it was really a YA book because of the age of the main characters at the start, but it didn't take long for it to move well into adult ter ...more
Paula Ptomey
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free ARC of Listen To The Wind by Susanne Dunlap from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Why wasn't history taught like this in school? Susanne Dunlap's story from the French crusades made me go check out the actual history of the crusades. I must say that Susanne did her research well. I loved the storyline, and also learned many things I didn't know. I appreciate the reality of life and situations that are told and yet the story feels so real. You are drawn in and awaitin
J.D. DeHart
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interested and detailed historical novel. I appreciate the time and research Susanne Dunlap invested in this work.
Vicki Kondelik
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listen to the Wind is the first in Susanne Dunlap's Orphans of Tolosa trilogy, set in 13th century Languedoc (now a region of southern France). It tells the story of two childhood friends, Azalaïs and Azemar, who were separated from their families in Tolosa (Toulouse), and have only dim memories of their parents. When they are forced to leave the band of outlaws who raised them, Azalaïs and Azemar get separated from each other, but promise to meet someday. The novel takes place during a time whe ...more
I received a copy of this book for review purposes through NetGalley.

This book was very well written and enjoyable. This book follows two characters and it balanced that very well. Both characters were given the opportunity to grow separate from each other and gave the reader time to invest themselves int the character, and then later the character's goals in relation to the other character. They weren't all-consumed by one thing, but still had a drive and motivation that lead the story forward.
Elizabeth Fellows
Oct 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Listen to the winds

This book takes place in the 13th Century, during the Cathar faith, a heretical Christian sect, when violence was prevalent in order to steal certain land & status. It wasn’t uncommon for parents to hide their children in the forests and let them fend for themselves in order to save their lives. The story is about two orphans who are from the Languedoc area, who must flee to save their lives.
The authors detailed descriptions of the lives of Azemar & Azalais is very detailed. T
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Susanne Dunlap is the author of ten works of historical fiction. A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, five step- ...more

Other books in the series

The Orphans of Tolosa (3 books)
  • The Spirit of Fire (The Orphans of Tolosa #2)
  • Voices in the Mist (The Orphans of Tolosa #3)

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