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The Blue

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,769 ratings  ·  327 reviews
In eighteenth century London, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities; fortunes are made and lost upon it. Kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces and the secrets of their manufacture.

For Genevieve Planché, an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure; she wants to be an artist, a painter of int
Paperback, 439 pages
Published December 3rd 2018 by Endeavour Quill
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Nancy Bilyeau I really think you would enjoy it, yes. It's historical fiction with a strong female character, suspenseful but not violent, romance but no graphic se…moreI really think you would enjoy it, yes. It's historical fiction with a strong female character, suspenseful but not violent, romance but no graphic sex. It's selling out on paperback on amazon, the best way to order it is through Book Depository, free delivery worldwide: (less)
Nancy Bilyeau Definitely. It is not part of any series and it's about a woman's struggle in another century, told with suspense. If your club likes historical ficti…moreDefinitely. It is not part of any series and it's about a woman's struggle in another century, told with suspense. If your club likes historical fiction, yes.(less)

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The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau is a 2018 Endeavour Quill publication.

Original and interesting-

In eighteenth century London the war with France is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, but another war is brewing which is centered around the porcelain trade. The search for a particular shade of blue, which stands out brilliantly when applied to porcelain is sought after by those in high places.

Genevieve is an artist who longs to be recognized as such. Unfortunately, because she is a woman, she is not
Amalia Gkavea
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
‘’London is alive. And so am I.’’

18th century, England. Genevieve comes from a Huguenot family that found shelter in England, persecuted in their own country due to their religious beliefs. In a time when the war with France is raging, Genevieve has to fight her own battle to acquire the right to be acknowledged for her talent to create beauty. Apart from the military conflict, there is an ongoing race for the finest porcelain and the creation of the most unique and powerful of colors. The c
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
This antique lover loved this book!

In the 1700s, porcelain is at the center of London in every way. It is traded like money and is possibly more valuable.

Genevieve Planche is an English born descendent of Huguenots, and she longs to be a painter. Venice is where she anticipates accomplishing her dream.

Sir Gabriel Courtney and Genevieve cross paths, and he offers her the chance to go to Venice…if she works for him on a special task: finding out the secret behind the color blue.

With this assig
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
England and France were embroiled in war on many fronts in 1758. The Seven Years War was raging. French, God-fearing Huguenots continued to seek refuge in England. Political and religious unrest produced fertile ground for spying. Ask Sir Gabriel Courtenay, a most unscrupulous nobleman. Sir Gabriel made Genevieve Planche an offer she couldn't refuse.

Genevieve was a third generation descendant from a line of French Huguenot refugees. She lived with her grandfather, Pierre Billiou, in Spitalfields
✨Bean's Books✨
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"In eighteenth century London, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities; fortunes are made and lost upon it. Kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces and the secrets of their manufacture.
For Genevieve Planché, an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure; she wants to be an artist, a painter of international repute, but nobody takes the idea of a female artist seriously in London. If only she could reach Ven
This “spy story is set amid the rivalry of eighteenth century porcelain factories.” Bringing the story of the Meissen porcelain - where it all started in Europe, through Derby Porcelain in England to Sevres - the French factory sponsored by Madame de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV. “The atmosphere of high stakes and stolen formulas depicted in The Blue is factual. (…) Discoveries in pigment of color have a long and fascinating history, and none more so than in blue. A scientist named Georg ...more
Genevieve makes for a feisty, resourceful and independent-minded heroine. Finding her ambition to be an artist thwarted by her lack of independent means, her gender and the prejudices of the time, she unwillingly enters into a bargain that will see her come up against an equally resourceful but entirely unscrupulous adversary. Genevieve will soon discover that, when it comes to the search for the secret to creating something new and unique in the world of porcelain, there are men (and women) who ...more
Ok guys, I’m not going to beat around the bush about The Blue: this is simply the best historical novel I have read this year. I had already devoured and enjoyed three books by Nancy Bilyeau, set under the Tudors. The Blue surpasses them all.

A superb combination of plot and research, rich characters, suspenseful scenes, a smart ending: The Blue reveals the perfect formula for a historical mystery focused on industrial espionage in 18th century England. Will definitely be in your list of best of
Kate Quinn
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating blend of religious strife, industrial espionage, court politics, and heady romance--not to mention the mesmerizing, cutthroat maneuvering behind the 18th century porcelain trade. The heroine is delightful, and the villain fascinating. Definitely a winner!
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read all historical fiction written by this author. I left no notes on my previous reads, so I will try to serve myself better with reminders of what I liked about this stand alone book exploring the world of porcelain during reign of Louis XV. Our narrator is a young unmarried woman who was endowed with modern day determination and rebellion, so that always gives me pause in reading historical fiction. Nevertheless, she carried us through the changing landscape however implausible much o ...more
Judith Starkston
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fast-paced action, passionate emotions, international intrigue and life or death stakes propel the reader through this outstanding historical thriller set in 18th century London, Derby and France.

Bilyeau depicts the world of 1758 with gorgeous detail. She immerses the reader, whether in the rough streets of London’s Spitalfields district where the refugee Huguenot silk-weavers ply their trade or in the newly opened British Museum where the aristocrats are as much on display as this “collection
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic story of science, art, espionage. The unique properties of porcelain made it a very highly prized and competitive industry and industrial espionage was rife in Europe in the 18th century. Genevieve was a great character- feisty, passionate about art and determined to make her way in a man’s world. I loved this and it was on Kindle Unlimited, so even better! I’ve liked all the books I’ve read by this author and definitely plan to read the rest.
Erika Robuck
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Is there any reading more enjoyable than historical mystery that blends fact and fiction, and sends one straight to the internet seeking images to illuminate the already colorful prose between its pages? There is not, and THE BLUE, by Nancy Bilyeau, is just that kind of read.

Set in eighteenth century Europe, THE BLUE tells a fascinating and informative tale of hedonism, power, and how corrupt we mortals can become for our shiny objects and idols. The characters are spirited and flawed--there's n
Olga Miret
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am writing this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you’re looking for reviews, I recommend you check her amazing site here), and I thank her and the publisher for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
As soon as I read the description of this novel I was intrigued by the topic. I’ve read about the different fancies and frenzies that have taken societies (or at least the upper parts of them) by storm over history. Suddenly, something “new”
Disclaimer: Digital ARC via the publisher

Genevieve has a problem. It isn’t that she is French living in England when relations between the two countries are not going well. It isn’t that she is Huguenot who cannot go to France because of that whole not-a-Catholic-we-slaughter-you thing.

Her grandfather got her a job. At a porcelain factory, painting on flowers and things.
In other words, he sold out her artistic talents because you know, in the days of Hogarth, women really didn’t do things li
If you're reading these reviews and star ratings prior to the publication date of December 3, please be aware that while a limited number of copies have been distributed to bloggers, circulation of the book prior to publication was extremely limited (no ARCs, no NetGalley, etc.) Nonetheless, some people who weren't on the blogger list have decided to hop on here and give the book a one-star rating. Please, if you're trying to decide whether or not to read the book, bear that fact in mind when ev ...more
Stephanie (Bookfever)

At that moment I do not feel that I've agreed to a spying-for-money scheme but something finer something extraordinary. The quest for blue. And something more. This is our shared obsession now.
—The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

I bought The Blue back in February because I saw fellow bloggers recommend the book and it wasn't until April when I randomly decided to start it because I was away at the time and only had my Kindle to read on but I'm so glad I picked it because I enjoyed reading it so much
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Porcelain. Not what I thought would make for exciting reading, but in this fabulous book, it's a commodity that drives politics, espionage, and obsession.

I'm a longtime fan of Nancy Bilyeau's books: rich with drama and unforgettable characters, they are the kind of books that just sweep you up. Here, Bilyeau makes an industrial endeavor -- the 18th century passion for blue porcelain -- a captivating, dramatic story, centered on a winning heroine.

Genevieve Planché is a descendant of French Huguen
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Since reading the Joanna Stafford trilogy (The Crown, The Chalice and The Tapestry) a few years ago, I’ve been waiting and hoping for a new book from Nancy Bilyeau and here it is at last: The Blue. Bilyeau wrote so convincingly about Tudor England in the Joanna Stafford books that I was surprised to find she was switching to an entirely different period for this latest novel – the Seven Years War of 1756 to 1763, a war which involved most of Europe, with Britain and France on opposite sides. Set ...more
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is ultimately a tale of spies amidst the rivalry between France and England in the 1700s. The story and many of the characters are based in fact.

The story is unique and unpredictable which I always appreciate. I like reading stories where I really don't know what's going to happen or who is going to come out on top!

The story moves at a good pace and held my interest. I learned about a new aspect of history I had no idea existed - the war over porcelain! There is also a good ending!
Books are TARDIS

“Ambrose Stanton has reached the far shore of Character, and the land is called Pomposity.”
― Nancy Bilyeau, The Blue

This book too has reached the far shore of character, and the land is called: Incredulity.

Anachronistic, nonsensical and full of insta-love. While I enjoyed all the information sprinkled throughout this novel about colors and porcelain, that's about all I liked. The plot is bizarre verging on comedic stupidity. I can't make head or tails of ANY of the characters (with the sole
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A suspenseful story about espionage in the 18th century porcelain industry. Genevieve is a realistically drawn and highly intriguing heroine. She’s strong and deeply independent and willing to risk anything for her dream of being an artist. Even if it means spying for a rival porcelain house in a race to discover a new shade of blue. Rich historical detail, great characterization and a nail-biting plot. Loved it!
Jenny Q
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars. I very much enjoyed Nancy Bilyeau's Joanna Stafford trilogy, so I was excited to see she had a new book. In The Blue, she jumps forward two hundred years, leaving the Tudor era behind for the decadent Georgians, the scandalous court of Louis XV, and the porcelain rage that was sweeping Europe.

Genevieve Planche is a young Huguenot woman living in London with her grandfather, her family having fled religious persecution in France. A talented artist, Genevieve longs to do more than paint
Amy Bruno
Well my reading year just kicked off with a BANG! Nancy Bilyeau has truly written a masterpiece of a novel! It has everything I look for in a good historical fiction novel - to be education yet entertained, to be taken back in time and immersed in a new world, and I loved every minute I spent within the pages.

Genevieve is a young Hugenot woman living in England who yearns to become a painter in a time where women were not welcome.

"We are females that do not fit into the world we must live in."

This was a good, quick, historically interesting read.

Characters were ok - Genevieve felt too feisty, and seemed to be more a girl of now than the time period to which she was born. I liked the weaving in of true historical figures and their issues. The author did a good job of creating a sense of those times and settings.

The end and wrapup felt very abrupt to me.

I most enjoyed the topic - colors and their development within the new industries of that time. Here I sit wearing a floaty blue top,
This novel is a wonderful modern example of historical fiction written in the style of Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart, complete with a brave and reckless heroine, romance and both English and French settings. The "Blue" is a color used to paint on porcelain, tricky to formulate and much sought after in 18th century Europe, where porcelain is all the rage and making fortunes for it producers.

Genevieve Planche, our heroine, is an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees from France. All
Elizabeth St.John
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nancy Bilyeau’s captivating novel “The Blue” is a seduction in prose and knowledge, drawing the reader deeply into a world of intrigue, mystery and the pursuit of an elusive prize that has no boundaries in risk or trickery. From the moment we join Genevieve at an 18th century party reminiscent of Hogarth’s prints, already vilified as a woman in a man’s world, we feel her resentment at her place in society. When she’s shown to be a foolish woman, conned into love by a charming trickster, we share ...more
Heather Webb
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Under Bilyeau’s skillful hand, I was swept into the 18th century and the fascinating world of porcelain. In fact, I found myself digging around online in a mini research quest of my own to look into different kinds of porcelain, its history, and the scandals surrounding it--a sign of a good book. What's more, the obsessive pursuit of beauty, secrets and invisible ink, and a heroine not afraid of tossing off the conventions of her very strict Huguenot upbringing to follow her dreams, all make for ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

10. [The Blue] by [[Nancy Bilyeau]]

Genevieve Planché is a young Huguenot employed to paint flowers on silk intended for ladies dresses, but she longs to become a real artist, painting in oil under the guidance of a great master. Alas, the cards are doubly stacked against her as a woman of French heritage (England is at war with France). She longs to paint the lives of the common people. After a disappointing meeting with William Hogarth, Genevieve is almost resigned to take the position her gran
Marie Z Johansen
So Satisfying!

When I read about this books background I was a bit ambivalent...but once I began reading I became enthralled! At it’s heart this book is a romance; one between two people and another about a countries romance with porcelain and the color blue.

I learned so much from reading this book...and my continual fact checking confirmed that the excellent plot was based largely on facts. I have read other books by this author...and have enjoyed them all, but I think that with this book she ha
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Nancy is a writer and magazine editor who has worked as an editor at "Rolling Stone," "InStyle," and "Good Housekeeping."

Her new historical novel is "Dreamland," set in 1911 New York City and telling the story of a rebellious heiress who escapes from her over protective family to experience the delights of Coney IIsland--but there are dangers too. The novel has received starred reviews from Publi

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“Ambrose Stanton has reached the far shore of Character, and the land is called Pomposity.” 2 likes
“It wasn’t until the twelfth century that blue found a place on artists’ palettes, when they began to create it through grinding up certain stones. Every Madonna in a medieval painting wore blue robes, every stained glass window contained blue. It’s as if all men decided, at once, that blue was the color of…” I mull the right word… “the divine.” 2 likes
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