Lara's Reviews > The French Blue: A Novel of the 17th Century

The French Blue by Richard W. Wise
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's review
Jan 25, 10

liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, historical-fiction, read-in-2010
Read in January, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 1

A pretty fascinating story--I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I might! I didn't really know anything at all about the Hope Diamond, and this definitely got me interested in learning more about its history. I'd also never heard of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier; that guy led quite a life! I loved all the engravings and sketches and diagrams included in this book, and especially liked that they appeared in the body of the book instead of in a separate appendix; they really added to the story. I had a few issues with the book. First of all, the typos! Don't publishers have editors look things over before they release books anymore? I imagine not everybody will find this as distracting as I do, but I found the large number of typos very irritating. Also, I felt like I never really got a great sense of Tavernier's character, even though the entire book was written from his point of view, and Madeleine and Danush never quite seemed believable to me. On the other hand, I really loved several of the peripheral characters, like Pierre and Colbert. Overall, the good definitely outweighs the bad. It's an engaging adventure tale, a love story, a history lesson and a travel book all rolled into one, and the presentation is fabulous, other than a clumsily photoshopped picture of the diamond on the front cover, which really doesn't do the stone justice. I can barely take my eyes off the photo of The Order of the Golden Fleece on the back cover though. All in all, a very enjoyable story, and I'll definitely be doing some more reading on the subject. Thanks so much, Mr. Wise!

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01/12/2010 page 159
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