Friday, June 19, 2009

Review: The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier

Book Info:
The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Plume (June 24, 2003)
ISBN-13: 9780452284449
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

Meet Ella Turner and Isabelle du Moulin - two women born centuries apart, yet bound by a fateful family legacy. When Ella and her husband move to a small town in France, Ella hopes to brush up on her French, qualify to practice as a midwife, and start a family of her own. Village life turns out to be less idyllic than she expected, however, and a peculiar dream of the color blue propels her on a quest to uncover her family's French ancestry.

As the novel unfolds - alternating between Ella's story and that of Isabelle du Moulin four hundred years earlier - a common thread emerges that unexpectedly links the two women. Part detective story, part historical fiction, The Virgin Blue is a novel of passion and intrigue that compels readers to the very last page.

I really enjoy historical fiction and have been trying to read more of it of this year. I had this book on my shelf for a while and when it got requested from me on Paperback Swap, I made time to read it before I mailed it out.

I really enjoy historical fiction that moves back and forth from past to present as The Virgin Blue does. Ella is trying to find out more about her relatives and the narrative moves between times, giving you a glimpse into the lives of the ancestors she is trying to learn about. There is also a bit of a mystery surrounding her family and this adds another layer instead of being strictly a historical fiction book.

The Virgin Blue started a little slow for me. The parts of the book set in the past revolved around the religious feelings of the times and this isn't an area I know much about. Once I got to know the characters a little better I found it more enjoyable. The book usually changes time periods each chapter, up until the very end of the book. Then, the shift between the times happen more frequently. This really helped build suspense toward an exciting ending. 3.5 stars


Cindy said...

Hmm, I enjoy historical fiction also :) Sounds interesting, although I usually prefer books based on King Henry VIII's court...

Literary Feline said...

I haven't read anything by this author before, but I've seen her name and titles pop up before. This sounds like an interesting book, even with the slow start. Thanks for the great review!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I remember enjoying the audio version of this one. I don't like too too much historical fiction, but this one worked for me.

Toni said...

This sounds like a good one. Thanks for your review.

Zibilee said...

I have only read one book by Tracy Chevalier. I was Falling Angels, and I'm sad to say it was a bit underwhelming. But I am not going to let that stop me, as I have a couple of her others on my shelf, including this one. I am glad you enjoyed it, now I am looking forward to it as well.