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  1 The Passion of Dolssa
Author: Berry, Julie
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Class: Fiction
Age: 12-19
Language: English
Demand: Average
LC: PZ7.B461
Grade: 7-12
ISBN-13: 9780451469922
LCCN: 2015020814
Imprint: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Viking
Pub Date: 04/12/2016
Availability: Available
List: $18.99
Physical Description: 478 pages : illustration ; 22 cm H 8.56", W 5.87", D 1.52", 1.3125 lbs.
LC Series:
Brodart Sources: Brodart's For Youth Interest Titles
Brodart's For Youth Interest: Popular
Brodart's Insight Catalog: Teen
Brodart's TOP Young Adult Titles
Brodart's YA Reads for Adults
Bibliographies: Best Children's Books of the Year
Senior High Core Collection, 20th ed.
Texas Tayshas Reading List
Awards: BCCB Starred Reviews
Best Fiction for Young Adults
Booklist Editors Choice
Booklist Starred Reviews
Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices
Horn Book Fanfare
Horn Book Guide Titles, Rated 1 - 4
Horn Book Starred Reviews
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Publishers Weekly Annual Best Books Selections
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VOYA's 5Q Picks
Starred Reviews: Booklist
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates Magazine)
TIPS Subjects: Historical Fiction
BISAC Subjects: YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Romance / General
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Historical / Medieval
LC Subjects: Albigenses, Fiction
Albigenses, Juvenile fiction
Christian heresies, Fiction
Christian heresies, Juvenile fiction
Faith, Fiction
Faith, Juvenile fiction
France, History, Louis IX, 1226-1270, Fiction
France, History, Louis IX, 1226-1270, Juvenile fiction
Historical fiction
Inquisition, Fiction
Inquisition, France, Provence, Juvenile fiction
Provence (France), History, 13th century, Fiction
Provence (France), History, 13th century, Juvenile fiction
SEARS Subjects: Fiction for children
Historical fiction
Juvenile fiction
Love stories, Fiction
Middle Ages, Fiction
Reading Programs: Accelerated Reader Level: 4.7 , Points: 14.0
Lexile Level: 650
Reading Counts Level: 5.7 , Points: 22.0
Brodart's TOP Young Adult Titles | 04/01/2016
When Botille, a peasant woman, finds Dolssa dying and on the run from a monk who wants her to burn for her beliefs, she feels compelled to protect her. But the monk is still after her, and soon Botille’s family and village are in danger. 496pp.
Starred Reviews:
Booklist | 04/15/2016
Grades 9-12. Publishers say that historical fiction is a hard sell, and books with religion at their core are few and far between. Kudos, then, to Berry (All the Truth That's in Me, 2013) for creating a sweeping saga that not only deeply entwines both but also dissects its characters' humanity as it looks at the often troubling beliefs that underlay their actions. The story-within-a-story begins in 1290. A friar is gathering papers and testimonies that will show how the inquisitions here on the border of France and Spain were God's holy work. But one tale troubles him, so much so that he begins to stitch the strands together, and that is where the main story begins. Botille is a sassy teenager who makes money in her seaside village of Bajas by matchmaking. A disruptive childhood and a drunken father has bound Botille and her sisters closely together, but their lives are good: Plazensa runs the tavern, Botille makes her matches, and Sazia tells fortunes with uncanny accuracy. To the north, in Tolosos, there is another girl, Dolssa. Aristocratic by birth and a mystic by the grace of God, she spends her days with her "beloved," Jesus, who wraps her in his murmurs and consumes her with his love. That much love cannot be contained, and Dolssa begins telling others how much her beloved cherishes all people. The simplicity of her message is seen by the inquisitors as a threat to the church, a devil's deception, and there is only one place it can end: in a public burning. Miraculously, Dolssa escapes the pyre. She wanders until she meets Botille, who saves and shelters her. This beautifully crafted plot would be enough on its own, but Berry does so much more. First, she establishes a convincing setting, in part by peppering the dialogue with Old Provencal language. Using many voices, some of which, including Botille and Dolssa, relate their own stories, she picks beneath words and actions to expose the motives of the heart, revealing how lofty ideas can turn into terrorizing actions, and how fear and self-preservation can make friends and neighbors turn on one another. Yet despite the book's gravity, Berry also manages to infuse her story with laughter and light--welcome surprises. The final surprise awaiting readers at the book's conclusion adds yet another layer to the storytelling. Also at the book's end, Berry has included a wealth of back matter, a glossary, a list of characters (possibly of more help if placed at the book's beginning), and an author's note explaining the roots of the religious discord, inquisitions, and wars, and touching on such female mystics as Hildegard of Bingen, who is referenced in the novel. The beauty of historical fiction is that it brings to life long-ago times and places even as it shows how hopes, fears, and dreams remain constant across the ages. The strength of religious-centric novels is their revelation of the myriad ways people grapple with their faith and spirituality. The Passion of Dolssa's rich brew will leave readers thinking about all of these things, even as it profoundly influences their own struggles and questions. Cooper, Ilene. 496p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2016.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books | 04/01/2016
R. Gr. 8-12. By 1241, the Albigensian Crusade is over by decades, but the Church remains vigilant in Provensa (now Provence), stamping out any wisp of heresy with swords and flames. This threat does not stop eighteen-year-old Dolssa from preaching the word of "her beloved . . . Senhor Jhesus" in an effort to heal the minds and bodies broken by the Crusade. Meanwhile, Botille and her sisters lead a simple life in Bajas, a poor but close-knit seaside town. The two come together when Botille finds Dolssa nearly dead after the Inquisitors burned her mother and chased her through the countryside. Botille and her sisters refuse to consign Dolssa to her fate even after they realize the danger she brings with her. The story is told on several levels-introduced by a Dominican historian and then an older Botille, and then narrated by Dolssa, Botille, and Lucien, the friar pursuing Dolssa; the multiple points of view give completeness to the story, offering context for readers unfamiliar with the times. As two people of faith, Lucien and Dolssa offer startlingly similar qualities: a devout and fervent belief in their God, the break in their faith when it seems to fail them, and an ultimate reconciliation, though Dolssa finds hers through peace, and Lucien his through further violence. Botille offers an alternative to such faith: she does not know if she believes in God, but she believes in Dolssa and her goodness and that is enough for Botille. There's a fair amount of setup before the threads of the story come together, but Botille's narration immerses the reader in the warmth of her family, the beauty the setting, and camaraderie of her community. This is a skillfully crafted and tenderly told story of faith and friendship tested. An extensive note about the author's research and a glossary are included. KQG. 496p. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIV. OF ILLINOIS, c2016.
Horn Book | 03/01/2016
Middle School, High School. Berry (All the Truth That's in Me, rev. 11/13) tells the story of (fictional) Catholic mystic Dolssa de Stigata after she escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 Toulouse, France; mostly, however, it's the story of Botille, an enterprising young matchmaker from a tiny fishing village who rescues Dolssa from starvation and detection, and thus puts herself and her village in mortal danger. Berry constructs her novel as a 1290 account by a monk, and employs both first- and third-person narrations--from Botille to Dolssa to the vengeful Dominican Friar Lucien who pursues Dolssa, and more. If this makes the reading experience choppy at times, it doesn't matter: Botille's spirited, down-to-earth character and style, the heart-rending suspense of the events she relates, and the terrifying context of the Inquisition in medieval Europe all render the novel irresistibly compelling. So too does the female solidarity Berry portrays among Botille and her sisters (tavern-keeper and fortuneteller) and their loyalty to the woman they rescue. Berry writes in short sentences with relatively simple language, conveying complex historical and religious matters fluently and accessibly for today's readers. Her thoughtful, sober historical note places the story's thirteenth-century issues in a valuable modern context; also appended are two glossaries (for Old Provencal and Latin words), a list of place names, and a bibliography. deirdre f. baker. 482pg. THE HORN BOOK, c2016.
Publishers Weekly | 02/01/2016
Ages 12-up. When Botille Flasucra finds Dolssa de Stigata lying on a riverside close to death, she takes the stranger to her family's tavern. Botille, a young matchmaker, and her sisters nurse Dolssa back to health in secret--a Dominican friar obsessively hunts Dolssa, whom he condemned as a heretic to be burned at the stake. The year is 1241 in Provensa (now Provence), where the aftereffects of the Albigensian Crusade have led to an inquisition meant to rid the Christian world of heretics. Dolssa, however, feels called to heal the sick in the name of her beloved Jhesus, and her miracles eventually bring danger to the small town of Bajas. Berry (All the Truth That's in Me) again delivers an utterly original and instantly engrossing story. Drawing from meticulous historical research (highlighted in extensive back matter), she weaves a tense, moving portrait of these two teenage girls and their struggle to survive against insurmountable odds. Love, faith, violence, and power intertwine in Berry's lyrical writing, but Botille's and Dolssa's indomitable spirits are the heart of her story. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.). 496p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2016.
School Library Journal | 12/01/2016
Gr 7 Up. Two young women--Botille, a tavern wench, and Dolssa, a noblewoman possibly in communion with God--form a deep bond in a world that seeks to destroy them. Berry has reimagined 13th-century France with vigor, from the small intricacies of daily village life to the brutal ruthlessness of the Inquisition. Readers looking for a work steeped in female friendship, mysticism, and blood, with extensive back matter to boot, will be well rewarded. Mahnaz Dar, Shelley Diaz, Della Farrell, Daryl Grabarek, Kiera Parrott, Luann Toth, Kent Turner, Tyl. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2016.
VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates Magazine) | 04/01/2016
5Q 4P J S. In Provensa (Provence), 1241, Dolssa, a young mystic, tells how she is accused of heresy and sentenced to burn. But, when she is forced to watch her supportive mother burn first, her bonds are mysteriously loosened and she hears a voice telling her to run. Exhausted and starving, she is found by Botille, a matchmaker on her way home to Bajas, who tells her own story of how she and Symo, the nephew of a friend, hide Dolssa away in their cart just before she is found by inquisitor Friar Lucien. Risking her own life and those of her sisters, Botille hides Dolssa in their tavern at Bajas. Berry's meticulous research on the genocidal war waged by papal forces against the holy men and women of Provensa--a war continuing to fuel the Dominican Order's persecution of suspected heretics--is skillfully integrated and explains why Dolssa's passion for her "beloved" and the miracles she performs healing villagers are anathema to the church. The dark reality of persecution by religious zealots who would burn Bajas, Dolssa, and her supporters are leavened by Botille's matchmaking activities. A multivoiced narrative and persona representing clerics, peasants, and nobles whose language is drawn from Old Provencal contribute to a vivid sense of medieval Provensa. Strong characters and relationships, such as the trusting love between Dolssa and Botille and the prickly love between Botille and Symo, are central to this powerful and beautifully written novel. The author includes glossaries and fascinating notes on how Dolssa's story came to be written.--Hilary Crew. 496p. VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES, c2016.
Journal Reviews
BookPage | 04/20/2016
In 13th-century France, the Catholic Church is hell-bent on eradicating heresy. Unfortunately, their definition of heretics includes the bons omes and bonas femnas--saintly aesthetics who are devoted to God but not necessarily to the Catholic Church. Persecution of these wandering souls is top priority for the Church. For Botille Flasucra, who is eking out a living with her two sisters in a tiny village, these meddlesome inquisitors seem remote. While on an errand to another village, Botille rescues a dying girl she finds lying in the woods. This is Dolssa, an ethereal mystic who has an intimate relationship with Jhesus. Dolssa is pursued by Lucien de Saint-Honore, an inquisitor charged with burning Dolssa alive. Although the Flasucra sisters strive to keep Dolssa hidden, her proclivity to perform miracles soon makes Dolssa the talk of the village. The story is told from multiple points of view: Lucien, Botille, Dolssa and well-chosen witnesses that flesh out hidden facets of perspective. Botille, in particular, is a wonderful narrator. She is amused by village life as only a teen can be, infusing the story with her dry humor. She is our compass, shaping our understanding of Dolssa's mysticism as well as the ruthless persecution espoused by the dominant religious power of the day. As in her debut novel, All the Truth That's in Me, Berry's writing is stunning. Poetic, insightful and, at times, deeply disturbing, Dolssa's story is steeped in 13th-century sensibilities yet so relatable to 21st-century readers. Berry includes a map, glossary and extensive source notes. Diane Colson. BookPage Yay! YA Web Exclusive Review. BOOKPAGE, c2016.
Horn Book Guide | 11/01/2016
1. A (fictional) Catholic mystic, Dolssa de Stigata, escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 France; mostly, this is the story of Botille, an enterprising young matchmaker from a tiny fishing village who rescues Dolssa. Botille's spirited character, the heart-rending suspense of events, and the terrifying context of the Inquisition in medieval Europe all render the novel irresistibly compelling. Historical note appended. Bib., glos. dfb. 482pg. THE HORN BOOK, c2016.
Kirkus Reviews | 02/01/2016
A girl matchmaker in 13th-century southern France meets a mystic on the run from the Inquisition. A generation after the horrors of the Albigensian Crusade, the elders are still broken by memories of entire towns put to the sword, but the younger folk, such as Botille and her sisters, focus on the present. After a childhood on the run, the sisters seek stability in poverty-stricken Bajas: brewing ale, telling fortunes, and helping their neighbors. Bajas is depicted through a scattering of third- and first-person viewpoints (but primarily Botille's) as a town where all look out for one other as a matter of course, where goodness is found in prostitutes, fishermen, hustlers, and drunks. Bajas' generosity is challenged when Botille discovers Dolssa, an injured, spirit-shattered girl on the run. Dolssa's a convicted heretic for speaking publicly of her intimate relationship with "her beloved...Senhor Jhesus." She trails miracles like bread crumbs, from a never-emptying ale jug to repeated uncanny cures. The villagers venerate her, but the arrival of the Inquisition--in a world where branding and burnings are mild punishments compared to recent history--puts their goodness to the test. The slow build reveals Botille as a compelling, admirable young woman in a gorgeously built world that accepts miracles without question. The medieval Languedoc countryside is so believably drawn there's no need for the too-frequent italicized interjections in Old Provencal that pepper the narrative. Immersive and mesmerizing. (character list, historical note, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fantasy. 14-17). 496pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2016.
Review Citations
New York Times Book Review | 06/05/2016