Antof9's Reviews > The Virgin Blue

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier
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Jan 02, 09

bookshelves: 2005-read
Read in November, 2005

So this book started off strong -- very strong. The story of the 1500 Isabelle was very interesting, although could have been developed a little more, I think. I actually had a hard time putting the book down in the first three quarters or more. However, by the end, I was pretty much tired of it. Tired, because it was so odd and unbelievable, and I'd really stopped caring for Ella, the modern-day main character.

I loved the idea of what was happening -- the same land, same family, a modern day version of the character trying to solve a puzzle or a mystery of what had happened to her long-ago counterpart. But there were parts of it that added nothing to the story and made the characters less likeable.

I liked Ella a lot in the beginning, but didn't understand why the author gave her the relationship she did with Jean-Paul. It just didn't make sense, and didn't develop the story any more. Odd.

I realize this sounds like I didn't like it at all. Which isn't true -- I did, but became sort of disillusioned with the characters in the end.

I cared more about some of the side characters than I did for Ella -- Mathilde, Sylvie, Jacob, Susanne. And of course, Marie.

This was definitely an interesting book, and I did learn quite a bit of French history while reading it. But I think the author had a great idea and didn't know how to write the story around it, so the rest was weak.
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Astrid Lim you totally summarized everything I'd like to say about this book. I really wanted to enjoy it, especially since this is my first Chevalier's book, and I heard so many good reviews about her books. But I didn't get the characters (Ella, to be precised), and I wondered why did Tracy write good historical fiction with unlikable heroine like Ella?


Antof9 I think it might have been my first, too! It was so close, wasn't it, to being really good?!


Liza Perrat Exactly my thoughts too! I've just finished reading it and found Ella very unsympathetic, unbelievable and something of an indulgent child. I much preferred the historical part of the story.


Antof9 Thanks, Liza! Sad that we all found Ella so unsympathetic. I'm with you on the history.


Liza Perrat So true, I think Tracy Chevalier's "voice" is firmly grounded in historical fiction, rather than present-day.


message 4: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay I am listening to the audiobook, having previously read this novel and enjoyed it, BUT Ella is becoming really irritating. The content of the novel is interesting; the protagonist is not.


Antof9 Jay wrote: "I am listening to the audiobook, having previously read this novel and enjoyed it, BUT Ella is becoming really irritating. The content of the novel is interesting; the protagonist is not."

Ah, poor Ella. We all find her tiring :)


Lorie I'm afraid I'm right there with you on all of this. Loved Isabelle's story~Ella's struck a bad chord from the moment she landed in France! Mon Dieu!


Antof9 Lorie wrote: "I'm afraid I'm right there with you on all of this. Loved Isabelle's story~Ella's struck a bad chord from the moment she landed in France! Mon Dieu!"

Mon Dieu, indeed!


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