Book Review: The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier

the virgin blue

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’ss 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.

Apparently her first book, which I didn’t realise until later.

Ella Turner and Isabelle du Moulin— born 400 years apart, yet are bound by a fateful family legacy. 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 colour blue – the Virgin Blue of the title – propels her on a quest to uncover her family’s French ancestry. The novel alternates between Ella’s story and that of Isabelle du Moulin and a common thread emerges that unexpectedly links the two women.

I think I preferred the modern day story line, possibly because my 16th century French/Swiss Religious history is a little lacking. I didn’t get all the references to “The Truth” and didn’t appreciate how different this religion was from being a Catholic.

There is some French written here, mainly in speech. Rarely translated word-for-word, people with basic French (me: “C” grade O-level, 1986!) don’t suffer too much as there’s plenty of context around – I have read reviews where the level of French is complained at, probably written by people who’ve never bothered to learn any French.

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