Julie's Reviews > The Blue

The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau
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really liked it
bookshelves: e-book, historical-fiction, kindle-lending-library, 2019

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 allowed that accreditation. This desire, coupled with her personal situation, which has marred her reputation, leaves Genevieve vulnerable to a proposition. If she chooses to accept the offer, and is successful in her quest, it will open the door to all her dreams. What’s the catch?

Genevieve, as loath as she is to work in the porcelain factory, as a painter, finds the prospect much more appealing, when she accepts the role of spy. If she can discover who is behind the creation of a brilliant hue of blue and report back to her benefactor, she will be able to leave England and become the artist she’s always wanted to be.

Unfortunately, her plans immediately go awry, making her job very difficult indeed, and putting her under intense scrutiny.

Yet, once she makes headway, learning more about the source behind ‘the blue’, she is faced with an unforeseen complication which involves not only her conscience, but her heart, as well.

The premise of the story is truly interesting. Finding colors which are not a part of an original palette is evidently much harder than I ever could have imagined. The intrigue is very suspenseful, with some surprise revelations along the way.

Occasionally, Genevieve said or did things I questioned, and she had a certain gullibility that the modern reader might scoff at. However, putting oneself in this era of time, and noting that our heroine had limited training as a spy, she thought quickly on her feet, and made adjustments with each new curve ball thrown her way. She was vulnerable and in constant danger of discovery. So, maybe at times, I can be too hard on the ladies in historical fiction, expecting them to think, speak, and respond the way we would today. So, upon reflection, Genevieve was probably much more daring and unconventional than most women of her time, so I relaxed my judgments and gave her the benefit of the doubt.

The romantic elements were suited to my taste, as I love to see a couple endure real adversity and still persevere, stronger than ever, and of course, I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

The only other minor grievance I had, was with the length of the book. The plot could have been tightened up with a few nips and tucks, giving the story a more consistent flow.

Other than that, this book came along at a time when I was on the lookout for anything in the historical fiction category that was NOT set in world war two, for a change. The story took me away to another time and I learned a few interesting things in the process.

If you enjoy historical fiction, and if you are like me, looking for something that hasn’t been done a million times over, I think you might find this book of interest. It’s a fascinating, suspenseful story, full of intrigue and adventure.

4 stars
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Reading Progress

December 14, 2018 – Shelved
December 14, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
August 17, 2019 – Shelved as: e-book
August 17, 2019 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
August 17, 2019 – Shelved as: kindle-lending-library
November 4, 2019 – Started Reading
December 7, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
December 7, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-46 of 46 (46 new)

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message 1: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Sounds really interesting Julie, splendid review 💕🌸


Julie Maureen wrote: "Sounds really interesting Julie, splendid review 💕🌸"

Thank you, Maureen!! It was a refreshing change of pace! 😊💖😊


message 3: by Ceecee (new)

Ceecee This sounds really interesting Julie - I love this review ❤️😊


Julie Ceecee wrote: "This sounds really interesting Julie - I love this review ❤️😊"

Thank you very much, Ceecee!! 😊💖😊


message 5: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Langford Great review Julie !! 😄


message 6: by Holly (new)

Holly  B Intriguing review Julie!


Julie Lucy wrote: "Great review Julie !! 😄"

Thank you, Lucy!!💖


Julie Holly wrote: "Intriguing review Julie!"

Thank you, Holly!! I enjoyed this topic- very interesting! 💖


Books Just 4 Me Definitely peaked my curiosity


message 10: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Fantastic review, Julie! I have been curious about this one--I am glad to see it is worth reading!


Julie Books Just 4 Me wrote: "Definitely peaked my curiosity"

I loved the topic of porcelain and all the espionage! It was very interesting! 💖


Julie Meredith wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie! I have been curious about this one--I am glad to see it is worth reading!"

Thank you, Meredith!! I'm glad I took a chance on it. Very unique subject matter. 💖


Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!! Wonderful review, Julie! This sounds quite interesting!


message 14: by Candi (new)

Candi Terrific review, Julie! :)


Julie Norma * Traveling Sister ~ Semi-hiatus for now until I fully get my reading/reviewing hat on! 😂 I’m almost there! 💕 wrote: "Wonderful review, Julie! This sounds quite interesting!"

Thank you, Norma!! It really was! 💖😊💖


Julie Candi wrote: "Terrific review, Julie! :)"

Thank you so much, Candi!! 💖😊


message 17: by Kimber (new)

Kimber Silver This sounds like an interesting storyline! Wonderful review, Julie!😊


Julie Kimber wrote: "This sounds like an interesting storyline! Wonderful review, Julie!😊"

Thank you very much, Kimber!! It was an original topic - at least for me. Very enjoyable read! 😊💖😊


message 19: by Fran (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fran Julie....stellar review. So glad you enjoyed it!


message 20: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Terrific review, Julie . One I should add.


message 21: by Richard (new)

Richard Nice review Julie of what sounds like a very good historical novel!


message 22: by Yun (new)

Yun Terrific review, Julie! This book sounds so interesting! This reminds me of a book I read last year about colors and their histories... it makes you realize that something we take for granted (bright beautiful colors) is actually something that wasn't available to everyone throughout history.


Julie Fran wrote: "Julie....stellar review. So glad you enjoyed it!"

Thank you so much, dear Fran!! 😊💖😊


Julie Richard wrote: "Nice review Julie of what sounds like a very good historical novel!"


Thank you very much, Richard!! 😊💖😊


Julie Angela M wrote: "Terrific review, Julie . One I should add."

Thank you, Angela!! You might like this one! 😊💖😊


Julie Yun wrote: "Terrific review, Julie! This book sounds so interesting! This reminds me of a book I read last year about colors and their histories... it makes you realize that something we take for granted (brig..."

Thank you, Yun!! So true. The work that goes into creating colors and art is fascinating and such an interesting part of history. 😊💖😊


Brenda -Traveling Sister Great review, Julie!


Julie Brenda -Traveling Sister host of The Traveling Friends wrote: "Great review, Julie!"

Thank you very much, Brenda!! 😊💖


Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* Fantastic review, Julie! 💖


Julie Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie! 💖"
Thank you very much, Mary Beth!! 💖


message 31: by *TUDOR^QUEEN* (new)

*TUDOR^QUEEN* Sounds great! 💗😉. I love that blue porcelain china 🙋🌹


Julie *TUDOR^QUEEN* wrote: "Sounds great! 💗😉. I love that blue porcelain china 🙋🌹"

Thank you, TQ!! So do I! Beautiful! 😊💖😊


message 33: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Ansbro Definitely important to place oneself in the era in which the book was set, Julie. No point applying modern sensibilities and streetwiseness (I know, I just made that up!) to an eighteenth-century mindset.
Wonderful review! : )


Julie Kevin wrote: "Definitely important to place oneself in the era in which the book was set, Julie. No point applying modern sensibilities and streetwiseness (I know, I just made that up!) to an eighteenth-century ..."

Thank you, Kevin! Agreed- the character was a little naive at times, but, women were often very sheltered back then.


message 35: by Brandice (new)

Brandice Nice review, Julie! You make a great point about putting yourself in the era of the story - I often find myself skeptical of a character’s seeming gullibility 🙃 but this is a great reminder to consider the time period as a factor in play too.


message 36: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Langford Fantastic review Julie :D


Julie Brandice wrote: "Nice review, Julie! You make a great point about putting yourself in the era of the story - I often find myself skeptical of a character’s seeming gullibility 🙃 but this is a great reminder to cons..."

Thank you, Brandice!! Sadly, women were 'handled' and sheltered back then. The character was too trusting sometimes, but well drawn. 💖😊💖


Julie Lucy wrote: "Fantastic review Julie :D"

Thank you, dear Lucy!! 💖😊💖


Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ Another awesome review, babe <3 x


Julie Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ wrote: "Another awesome review, babe <3 x"

Thank you very much, dear Alex!! 💖


message 41: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Great review Julie! :D


Julie Sandra wrote: "Great review Julie! :D"

Thank you very much, Sandra!! 💖


message 43: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Sounds fascinating, Julie! I'm often on the hunt for HF that isn't about war.


Julie Victoria wrote: "Sounds fascinating, Julie! I'm often on the hunt for HF that isn't about war."

Thank you, Victoria! The war trope is severely overcrowded at the moment. So glad I discovered this little gem! 💖


message 45: by Bookish Ally (new)

Bookish Ally I’ve had this on my list and off the list for a bit now - I don’t often read historical books set in the 18th century (restoration...????)and it sounds like this one could teach me something in regards to decorative arts during that period! Great review! Thank you!


Julie Bookish Ally wrote: "I’ve had this on my list and off the list for a bit now - I don’t often read historical books set in the 18th century (restoration...????)and it sounds like this one could teach me something in reg..."

Thank you, Ally!! I'm not sure how much was true or embellished about the colors and porcelain trade, but the story was a nice change of pace. 💖


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