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The Virgin Blue
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October 2016: Historical Fiction > The Virgin Blue - Tracy Chevalier - 5 stars

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message 1: by Elise (last edited Oct 15, 2016 08:51AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elise (ellinou) | 525 comments The Virgin Blue is about Isabelle du Moulin, a young woman living in the 16th century, and Ella Turner, her descendant in the 20th century. The novel alternates between Isabelle’s story, her marriage, her children and her beliefs, and Ella’s, her marriage, her research into her family’s past and her present.

At first I liked Ella’s chapters more than Isabelle’s, but as the story neared its end I was disappointed every time a chapter ended and the point of view changed. The second-to-last chapter, in which the points of view alternated until both character came to the same realization at the same time, was great. And it actually surprised me, I hadn’t seen it coming for a long while.

Big kudos for the French also. As a francophone, I can testify to how difficult it is to find an English book in which French is used correctly and without mistakes. In this one, the French was (almost) flawless. And not only that, but when Jean-Luc, a Frenchman, spoke English, his mistakes were natural and didn’t feel forced by the author. They were the kinds of mistakes I hear around me when francophones speak English without being completely fluent in it. Adverbs placed in the wrong place, verbs just slightly misconjugated, common expressions sometimes wrongly used. Nothing felt like the author bashing us over the head saying, “look at this guy, he’s speaking English but he’s French!”

Although, I was a little disappointed in the editing and the above-average number of typos. I realize as an editor my brain is trained to see these more than other readers, but still, it’s been a while since I last read a published book with that many typographical errors.


LibraryCin | 8322 comments This was my first book by Chevalier and I really liked it. I believe I gave it 4 stars.


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike999) | 569 comments I appreciate the thoughtful review. I enjoyed a couple hers several years back and you make a good nidge to try more


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