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Aug 08, 2017JCLChrisK rated this title 5 out of 5 stars
Just what all the cool kids are craving in a light read these days: a dejecting story about the persecution of a medieval mystic. Except that description, while superficially accurate, hardly captures the experience of reading this book. A number of narrators' voices are woven together to create the story, with the largest role by far played by Botille, a warm, witty, earthy, and slightly bawdy matchmaker who runs a tavern with her two sisters in a small seaside town. She's full of life and vigor, and so is her vibrant storytelling. Through her, we get a wonderful glimpse into what life would have been like in that time and place. And don't think that "persecution" means a bunch of theological debates and dogmatic trials. This is a desperate flight across the countryside, intriguing detective work, lies, covert operations, and a wealth of suspense. Involving the inquisition--you know, crusades and public executions with fire and all that. And the mystics Dolssa is based upon, as author Berry explains in her historical note at the end, "took the idea of Jesus as their husband or lover quite seriously; in fact, many spoke of Jesus in passionate, sexual terms that would make modern readers blush." This is an absorbing and powerful tale.