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3.34  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A story of persecution and poetry, love and war set in 13th century Southern France. As crusaders sweep through the country, destroying all those who do not follow their religion, Bertrand risks his life to warn others of the invasion. As a troubadour, Bertrand can travel without suspicion from castle to castle, passing word about the coming danger. In the meantime Elinor, ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 18th 2009 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  302 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Jun 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya

I was going to leave my review at that...A single, non-committal grunt of frustration, but I realize how useless that would be to everyone else. Clearly, I did not like the book, but why? Did my frustration stem from the book itself, or was I perhaps preoccupied with an irritating neighbor, coloring my perception of the novel?

Let me tell was the book.

I am still giving Hoffman one star for this because she obviously did extensive research prior to writing Troubadour. At least half
Vee_Bookish // YA Book Blogger
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📗 This is one of the most incredibly boring stories I have ever read. Essentially it’s a history lesson with a very clichéd plot that is barely mentioned due to every other paragraph over-describing the war. I do love history but I ended up skim reading the last 100 pages (didn’t miss anything important, story ended exactly how I expected).

📕 I thought that Elinor was a very spoilt character, naturally I can understand why a 13 year old girl wouldn't want to ma
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Cover Blurb: Like the seriousness of it - the red sky, the crumbling castle. Don't like that it stares at me, even though the girl looks how I imagine Elinor.

What I Liked: While Elinor didn't make a huge impression on me as a protagonist, she wasn't annoying, and she was a convincing tomboy. I loved the premise of the story. Here's where I had trouble:

What I Disliked: The way the story was written, it didn't give me much of an opportunity to know Elinor and Bertran. While I did get to know Bertr
SJH (A Dream of Books)
I love historical fiction and reading about real-life events. 'Troubadour' is set in Southern France during the thirteenth century when the Cathars or 'True Christians' were persecuted by the Pope and burnt alive as heretics all across France. Thousands of people were killed during the period from 1209 to 1229 as the Pope promised their lands to any Northern Frenchmen who would fight in the crusade against them.

Mary Hoffman has used this as a backdrop for the book and has woven a story about a
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story starts in France in 1208 when one of the main characters, Bertran, a troubadour, witnesses the murder of Pierre of Castelnau, one of the Pope's representatives, who has been visiting the Count of Toulouse. He knows that this could mean trouble. not just for himself. but for all the Pope's enemies and he tries to warn other heretics (like himself) who could be in danger from the Pope's revenge by travelling to the various towns and cities of Southern France.

The other main character, Eli
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked The Falcon's knot very much but this book is also nice to read if you're into historical fiction.

The story is about a young lady who lives in the South of France during the middle ages. Her name is Elinor.
She is the daughter of a very wealthy landowner and his wife and the sister of a knight and other lady.

When the North of France declares war to the South, all hell breaks loose !
To spare his daughter her father arranges a marriage between her and an old and wealthy widower.

Elinor doesn'
The Book Queen
Gah. I love this book SO. MUCH.
(view spoiler)
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was so hard to get through. Maybe I went in with the wrong expectations, but I just did not get this one. I finished it just to see what would happen to the characters, but I'm not necessarily sure it was worth it. I had no idea how any of the characters felt the entire time.

Shame, because I really loved the Stravaganza series. Perhaps it's time for a reread!
Nell Rose
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did enjoy reading the book but I found it slightly distant compared to her other fantastic books. For example City of Masks. I loved those and all the characters.
Troubadour is a good read for someone who wants to know the history of that time, but for a closer feel for the characters, I suggest choosing the above City of Masks, etc.
Anna Neu
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Turned out better than I expected. Was slow at first but I ended up enjoying it.
Jun 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction who are teens or older
As a young noblewoman in thirteenth-century France, Elinor may live a life of comfort, but she has little control over her own future. She is secretly in love with the much older Bertrand, a troubadour who often travels to her family's home. Bertrand has a secret of his own - he is a member of a religious sect that the powerful Catholic church wants to destroy, considering them heretics. When Elinor learns her parents wish to marry her off to a man old enough to be her grandfather, she decides s ...more
Eline De
Feb 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this book at all. I didn't like the writing style, and the plot was slow. It didn't get better while reading more. I would not recommend it at all. BORING
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Libby Ames
When young Elinor’s parents insist she marry a much older man, Elinor runs away and becomes a troubadour—a traveling poet and minstrel. However, thirteenth century southern France is not a safe place to travel. A large army is invading in the name of religion, but really in an attempt to gain more profit and land. Elinor and her friends are caught in the conflict and the politics.

Hoffman’s writing is full of historical detail about a lesser known time period in southern France. She includes batt
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
So at first I thought this book would be very similar to the Stravaganza series. (Because the cover is hella similar). I was soooooo wrong. It was still a nice story and it wasn't a lovy dovy story like I first imagined it.

But it was hard to follow, especially the parts that didn't involve Elinor. There were sooooo many names of important people and I couldn't follow who was who.

Also an annoying thing was that there were these words that were "translated" for the book to fit into the time area
Mar 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Not as well written as Hoffman's other novels, this book still holds the reader pretty well until the end, but would have made more of a splash if it hadn't come along on the heels of K.M. Grant, who does a better job with her Blue Flame series. Hoffman bases her tale in the same region, the Languedoc area of France, just when the Pope moves to crush the heretical Cathars, or Believers. Caught up in events is young Elinor, whose parents intend her to marry an older man, and Elinor, unable to bea ...more
Oct 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Alright so I have to start off by saying that i have mixed feelings about this one. Up until the last two to three chapters I had every intention of writing a negative review. The only thing that I didnt like about the book though is that I felt like it drug on and on. The last few chapters were the best part of the book to me. I never would have guessed the way that it ended Though I enjoyed the outcome I did not enjoy the way that it ended. I felt that it ended too abrubptly. It is hard to exp ...more
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic book from Mary Hoffman. I've been putting off reading this book for awhile, as I finished up Hoffman's Stravaganza series. I'm glad I finally did read it. It was a well-researched and well-done historical fiction set in 13th century southern France during the time of the Albigensian Crusade, or the Catholic Church's war against the Cathars, called the Believers in the book. They were seen as heretics by the church. The Pope authorized a crusade initially against the Cathars, bu ...more
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
The first part of the book consumed me, and I quickly fell in love with Elinor as a character. The story reminded me of Silence, but the view of the more than one character rounded the world the story was built in. Halfway through, I simply couldn't bring myself to finish it for a long while. I was too scared to know what happened, and when I finally finished, I was partly correct. However, while I disliked the abrupt outcome, there was enough to convince me that it was the better outcome. The e ...more
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Chock-full of history, Hoffman has weaved a story of the Albigensian Crusade, which will both shock you and teach you. It ends well, but I felt that Elinor's character was a bit tame in places. Hoffman's writing is sometimes like watching the black-and-white version of a movie. It seems to lack the color and luster of the modern style, which isn't bad, but does seem a bit pale sometimes in comparison.
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Hard to get into but ultimately enjoyable book taking place in thirteenth century France. I have a bias towards things about France, and knowing the language helped deduce the meaning of phrases interspersed throughout (a brief glossary is in the back of the book, but it was not thorough). There was love, there was war, there were court entertainers and catapults. A good story, but could turn some people off with the amount of unfamiliar phrases.
JoAnna Bethea
May 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was historical, which I usually like but so briefly introduced SOOO many characters that I was very confused during the story as to whom was whom. I was also more of an historical account of wars than it was a flowing story of love or history. I wasn't completely taken with this book but had to finish it and it took me much longer to finish than a book this length usually does. I will most likely not be finishing the series because of the confusion and lack of interest.
Interesting story about the Cathars in medieaval France. I didn't enjoy it as much as the author's 'Stravaganza' books as I found the research showed through I little too obviously, and felt that some of the characters behaviours were a little anachronistic, but still a very good read, and an interesting introduction to this historical movement.
Maureen E
Sep 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
I’m getting more and more impatient with historical novels which focus on a main female character who is rebellious and doesn’t want to do her needlework and doesn’t want to marry for anything except love. I’m sure there were plenty of girls who felt that way, but not all of them, surely. In the end, this book was more nuanced, at least in that regard.
Richard Lee
Lots to like, but I felt it dodged the horror of the history here. I'd have preferred either a tale that was about troubadours (picaresque, romantic, exciting but light-hearted) or a story about the massacre of the Cathars (many YA books deal with utterly bleak subjects and don't turn their heads away). This book sort of mixed the two. This caused fault-lines to appear for me.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know I said I don't know why I read bad YA, but I got this for Crimbo and it's an author whose other series I've really enjoyed.

This however wasn't great. It wasn't awful either. It was interesting certainly, but interesting in the way a textbook is, and it felt more like I was reading one with a bit of story in it. Odd one to review. :/
Oct 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-fiction
Historical fiction from a little-known period in French history- the 13th century in southern France, where Christian crusaders destroyed practically everything in their path. A riveting read, with horrifying detail.
Mar 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
It was curious to find so many terms and concepts from my graduate musicology seminars set into this fictional story. She did a good job with it, however, and I enjoyed the read. As a story, it seemed a little fast paced at times; a complicated story set against a very complicated backdrop.
May 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2012
I so wanted to like this. It's a period I'm interested in and a part of the world I know well. But there was just no life in it. Yet another rebellious young girl who wants to choose her own path in life.
Tosca Wijns-Van Eeden
It was a very lovely story, a lot of history though which was a bit boring and a lot of war.
But I liked the development of the Elinor character throughtout the book.

After reading the Stravagante series this book was a dissapointment, but on itself is was a nice story.
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See also works published under Mary Lassiter

Mary Hoffman is a bestselling British author and reviewer, born in 1945. She is a true enthusiast of Italy and spends a lot of her time there, which shows in her Stravaganza novels: a series currently in publication. In total, she has written over 80 books, including the aforementioned Stravaganza series and the bestselling picture book, Amazing Grace. M

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