Antof9's Reviews > The Virgin Blue

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1717549
's review
Jan 02, 2009

it was ok
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.
44 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Virgin Blue.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

02/05/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-18)




dateUp arrow    newest »

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?!


message 16: by Liza (new) - rated it 3 stars

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.


message 14: by Liza (new) - rated it 3 stars

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


message 13: 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!


Pamela I felt the exact same way! Glad to see someone else did too. I was so interested in the past and her search for her family history, but the tacked on affair/romance just derailed that present day story... I didn't really see a point to it either.


Ilga Hit the nail on the head.


Elaine Wishna I picked up an old paperback and decided to read it because I like historical fiction. However, I totally agreed with Antof9's review. I couldn't have said it better.


Antof9 Now that I've re-read my own review and all these comments ... again ... I wonder if any of you have read any more of Chevalier? I think this is the only one I've read.


Ilga Antof9 wrote: "Now that I've re-read my own review and all these comments ... again ... I wonder if any of you have read any more of Chevalier? I think this is the only one I've read."

I did read the pearl earring book, but a while ago, before I was using goodreads. I remember liking it though (not much more) and that is mainly why I picked up this book.


Antof9 Oh! I forgot that was her (him?)! I've read that too. I remember also quasi-liking it :) And it took place in Holland, where my father is from, so I could picture much of it. I'll have to re-check my review of that one. Thanks for the reminder!


Ilga Antof9 wrote: "Oh! I forgot that was her (him?)! I've read that too. I remember also quasi-liking it :) And it took place in Holland, where my father is from, so I could picture much of it. I'll have to re-check ..."

Also Falling Angels. I read that one more recently and just re-read my review. I quite liked it, certainly better than this one. Only a little disappointed in the ending.


Antof9 Ilga wrote: "Antof9 wrote: "Oh! I forgot that was her (him?)! I've read that too. I remember also quasi-liking it :) And it took place in Holland, where my father is from, so I could picture much of it. I'll ha..."

Good to know! Thanks :-)


message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Berti Agreed! I thought Ella was selfish and flippant. Poor Rick will be untrusting of other, more deserving women and why would Jean-Paul want someone who will likely drop him on a whim too? She was surrounded by people who dropped everything to make her happy but she never was (and likely never will) be happy. Isabelle's story was solid and might have been told without the modern counsel counterpart.


back to top