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The Virgin Blue: A Novel Paperback – June 24, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Such an achievement for a serious writer that you feel it deserves an award.” —The Independent (London)
Top Customer Reviews
Ella Turner moves to France with her architect husband, Rick. Not far from where the couple settles in Lise-sur-Tarn, Isabelle du Moulin married Etienne Tournier when pregnant with their child, in 15th-Century France. At the time of Isabelle's marriage, France is suffering through the religious upheavals that are scouring the countryside, as strict Calvinist sects wrench themselves away from the Catholic Church, intent upon purifying the religion. Still, there are holdouts scattered throughout the country, mostly in the north, were the fleeing refugees resettle, driven from their lands, their farms and goods burned to the ground.
Known in her village since a child as "La Rousse", Isabelle is now shamed by her flaming red hair, the object of unwanted attention. It is said that the Virgin had red hair, a mark of the Papacy. Isabelle hopes to pass unnoticed among the other villagers, always covering her hair in public. Her husband, Etienne Tournier, a distant and controlling man, has never trusted his beautiful young wife, fathering two sons and a daughter with her, but rigid in the ruling of his family. When Isabelle's daughter, Marie, grows fiery red strands of hair among the brown, her mother is terrified and with good reason.Read more ›
The story moves back and forth between Isabelle du Moulin, a young woman in 16th century France abused by her cruel husband, whose family belongs to a strongly anti-Catholic sect, and Ella Turner, her anscestor, a modern-day American midwife whose husband's job had relocated them to France. Both women find themselves horribly unhappy; Isabelle, who still secretly loves the Virgin and has her characteristic red hair, is suspected of treason and witchcraft by her husband Etienne, and Ella finds herself having strange nightmares about the color blue when she and her husband begin trying to conceive. As Ella and her "friend" Jean-Paul, a stubborn, often crass librarian who Ella is striving not to fall for, search for the story of Ella's anscestors, Isabelle's own disturbing fate slowly creeps into light.
While many reviewers have complained of the "coinicences" that lead to the story's chilling conclusion, I believe that it is this slightly supernatural and coincidential force tying the two women together that drives the story. The parallels between Isabelle and Ella are enticing, and only occasionaly (Ella's hair color changing to red being the most notable) are they far-fetched to the point of eye rolling. Although I will admit it lagged at times, the segments of each woman's story ended in precisely the place each time to keep me reading to figure out what befell them.
All in all, I would definitely reccommend this book, despite its luke-warm reviews. The end is well worth the read.
The sixteenth century tale is based around a young woman, Isabelle du Moulin, who marries a boorish lout named Etienne Tournier, the oldest son of one of the more prominent families in their provincial town in France. She is a young woman upon whom the Virgin Mary made a great impression, when she was but a girl. The Tourniers, however, are believers of the new, harsh, Calvinist faith, and so Isabelle must also fully subscribe to it, if she is to survive in her husbands family and in the town in which she lives. When the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre occurs, in which Huguenots are slain without mercy throughout all of France, Isabelle is forced to flee to safety with what remains of her husband's family. Unhappy in her marriage, she goes on to have an event occur in her life that is so tragic that her pain and sorrow is made palpable in the present, touching one of her ancestors, Ella Turner.
Of course, the parallel tale focuses around Ella Turner, a young, married American woman, who moves to France with her husband Rick, in order to advance his career. Ella agrees to the move, because it will take her to the region in France from which she knows her family originated. Once in France, Emma has some difficulty acclimating to life in the small provincial town to which they have moved, as well as to its denizens.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a huge Tracy Chevalier fan, and The Virginia Blue did not disappoint. I couldn't put it down. I love her brilliant way of intertwining historical events with heart tugging... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Katherine B.
It is a really interesting book! I was kind of disappointed since the picture on the cover was different (for me the cover matters and this was a painting by John Waterhouse... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ralitza P. Petkova
An interesting historical fiction novel full of adventure, heartbreak and romance.Published 5 months ago by Angela
Very disappointing. Not well written and very weird subject matter.Published 5 months ago by sara twain
Oh, ugh. What a dreadful contemporary character. She's not only dreary as hell, she is also a total bore. don't bother with this one.Published 6 months ago by Carmel Z.
Difficult to get into at first but easy and interesting reading from chapter two on. Enjoyed the historical information portrayed in it.Published 10 months ago by Elizabeth Hickey
I thoroughly enjoyed this book which I read for book club. I was one of the few people who liked the writing, but all liked the story. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
I LOVED this book. It is a fast, enjoyable read with an interesting thread. I liked the present linked to the past. Read morePublished 13 months ago by KT