The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Page Length: 496 Pages
Publication Date: January 26th, 2016
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC via First to Read
I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it.
Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France is an untold story of love, loss, and wonder and the two girls at the heart of it all.
Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with a secret lover and an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she’s on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire, and wants Dolssa executed, too.
Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town of Bajas.
When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by her sisters and Symo, her surly but loyal neighbor, Botille nurses Dolssa back to health and hides her from her pursuers. But all of Botille’s tricks, tales, and cleverness can’t protect them forever, and when the full wrath of the Church bears down upon Bajas, Dolssa’s passion and Botille’s good intentions could destroy the entire village.
From the author of the award-winning All the Truth That’s in Me comes a spellbinding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page and make you wonder if miracles really are possible.
I was so excited to read The Passion of Dolssa when I saw that it was available on First to Read. The concept sounded original and I wanted to take a break from the usual time period that most ya historical fiction takes place in, which is the 19th century. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE reading about that era but I wanted to take a break from it and delve further back in history. Maybe it’s because I’m such a huge history nerd but I was actually excited to learn about life in 12th century France, so I ended up guaranteeing it (which cost me 1000 points!!! ).
Well, right off the bat I could tell that I was going to have a few issues with it. Maybe it’s because I had an e-arc, but The Passion of Dolssa had a very unusual formatting. There was hardly any punctuation, there weren’t any quotation marks, question marks, exclamation points etc.. There were also quite a few interrogations throughout the book that were completely one-sided. For example, we would only see the answers to questions and not any of the questions which was very confusing. This made it difficult to decipher who was talking and what roles the characters had in the story, which was off putting to say the least. As I progressed in the reading the novel I wasn’t finding it interesting, or entertaining but I kept reading The Passion of Dolssa hoping that it would get better.
I didn’t like some of the main characters, such as the friar. Reading about him hunting down a young girl through the French country side in order to hand her over to the church so that they could burn her for being a herectic, was….disturbing to say the least. Now, I know that this might be rude but I was actually bored while reading about his “quest”. I actually started skipping his chapters because 1. I was bored and 2. most of his chapters were those one -sided interrogations.
Dolssa was also an unlike-able character, her fanatical devotion to her “beloved” to be weird. I don’t know but it kinda of made me uncomfortable reading about it. I didn’t know what she was talking about half of the time and also started skipping chapters with her point of view.
The only character that I did like reading about was Botille, she had quite a few chapters and what made them interesting to read was they weren’t just focused on her story line. We learn about the town and all of it’s residents through her. Once Dolssa and her were introduced to her my interest started waning. I got to a point in the story in which I couldn’t stand reading about any of the characters any longer and put it down around page 256.
The Passion of Dolssa seems to me that it would be better suited to be categorized as an adult novel. When I was still contemplating not finishing it I checked a few of the reviews and saw that most of the readers who did enjoy it were adult who were educators or librarians. So this book is obviously not suited for it’s intended audience. There is no way that I could recommend this book to anyone.
Thank you so much Penguin Teen and the First to Read for providing me with a e-arc for review. In compliance with FTC guidelines, I must state that I received this book for free and was in no way compensated for my review.
So tell me, have you read The Passion of Dolssa and loved it? If so why? What’s the latest book that you have DNF’ed? Let me know in the comments below!