Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Virgin Blue - Book Review

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier

What is it about:
The book tells the stories of two women living far apart in time, but close together in heart and spirit.
The story about Ella Turner tells about an American woman trying to settle in into living in a small french town. As she fails to fit in and feels her hold on her life slip through her fingers she tries to get back control by trying to dig into her family-history that leads back to the same area in France where she now lives.
Isabelle's story is set in the time of the Hugenots and tells of her struggle to fit into her husbands Hugenot family while still trying to hold on to her love for the virgin Mary.
Both women's lives are forced to a point where they have to chose what's most important for them.

What did I think of it:
This is Chevalier's first novel and of the ones I read I think it's the best one.
Her characters are very lifelike and the problems they face feel real.
Even though you can feel a lot of research went into the story it never comes to a point that you feel lectured or where the story feels forced by the historical backgrounds.

What I like about the story is that even where it gives the answer to some questions it raises, it leaves open so much more.
When finishing the book I was left with all kinds of wonderments and questions that had me thinking of the story for days after. Some might think this annoying, but I love it when a book has me thinking about things for myself.

Chevalier herself claims she left some things open out of inexperience and would write a different story today if she had to rewrite it. I can only say I'm glad she was that inexperienced, because allthough the other books I read from her are very good too, I miss the things left open for the imagination in her other books that are present here.

Why should you read it:
It's a well written and interesting story.

Other books by Chevalier:
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Falling Angels
The Lady and the Unicorn
Burning Bright
Remarkable Creatures


Danielle87 said...

I *loved* her 'Girl with a Pearl Earring', but hated her third book 'Falling Angels'... and I haven't bothered to read anything else of Ms. Chevalier's.
But your review has me intrigued....

Patti (Book Addict) said...

I enjoyed Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn...this one sounds good...nice review!

Anonymous said...

I have Girl With a Peral Earring but haven't read it yet. This one sounds good too.

Demented Wench said...

I've read "Girl With A Pearl Earring" several times so I think I will enjoy this book too. It's going on my growing-ever-so-long list of books to read.

Sullivan McPig said...

Thanks for your comments everyone.
@Demented Wench: My To Be Read List is growing daily.

Enbrethiliel said...


I didn't even know about this book! Thanks for your review, Sully. =)

vvb32 reads said...

her first one? whoa. i've only read girl with the pearl earring. btw: love vermeer!