Monday, 13 June 2016

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
Published April 1, 2016 by Harper Collins AU
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France lies an untold story of love, loss and magic - and the two girls at the heart of it all. Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she's on the run from the monk who burned her mother at the stake and wants her executed. Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to make a living and keep herself and her sisters in the good graces of their seaside town of Bajas. When their lives collide in the forest, Botille rescues Dolssa and shelters her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Botille does her best to nurse Dolssa back from the brink of death and hide her from those hunting her down. 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, Botille's good intentions could destroy the entire village. 

I absolutely loved All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry, so I was thrilled to hear of a new book by her, especially one that sounded so unique. Set in what is now known as France and Spain, during the middle to late Middle Ages, the story follows Dolssa and Botille, two girls very different from each other.

Botille Flasucra was easy to warm to. She and her sisters, Sazia and Plazensa, have been through a lot together. Their mother died and they spent time on the streets before settling in Bajas, along with their alcoholic defacto father, Jobau. Plazensa runs the tavern, Botille is known for her matchmaking skills, and Sazia can read fortunes.

Dolssa de Stigata fled Tolosa with Friar Lucien on her heels. She believes she is communicated directly to by God and refers to him as her beloved. When word of her preaching reaches religious authorities she is bought in for questioning. Botille and Dolssa are thrown together, and while Botille knows she is risking her life, she saves Dolssa's because she knows she must.

This is a time in history that isn't featured a lot in YA but it lent itself well to Julie's narrative. I was completely captivated by this story, and it was clear Julie had conducted a lot of research which added a richness to the descriptions and depth to the characters and plot. Also included in the book are a map, a list of characters, and a glossary.

The Passion of Dolssa is a beautifully told story spanning fifty years of loss, heartache, grief, and love. The characters and their stories will stay with you long after you've finished reading.

Thank you to Harper Collins for my review copy.

This is a stunning cover, I love the vintage look to the background and the leaves and vines. I started with a base of Ulta3 Lucky Bamboo. I sponged on Priti Pearlwort and Zoya Wednesday. I used acrylic paint for the leaves and vines.


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