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The Virgin Blue: A Novel Paperback – Jun 24 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (June 24 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284449
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 12.6 x 19.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #192,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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She was called Isabelle, and when she was a small girl her hair changed colour in the time it takes a bird to call to its mate. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Great historical novel with a modern twist.Tracy has a great way of making you feel you arementwined in her stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Saro on Sept. 12 2009
Format: Paperback
The precursor to A Girl with a Pearl Earring and the sublime The Lady and the Unicorn may not match them in lyrical fluidity and passion, but it makes up with its quiet intrigue and historical sojourn that traces the disparate lives of Ella and Isabelle, two women (arguably of the same lineage) whose lives intertwine ever so subtly as they live some four centuries apart, but find themselves delicately joined. While The Virgin Blue is gripping enough on its own, it falls a bit short considering the vast talent that Chevalier would exhibit in her subsequent work. Nonetheless, it is clear to the reader that the author's passion for art and historical narrative springs from this debut novel about religious intolerance.
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By A Customer on July 27 2004
Format: Paperback
I came to this book totally on my own, by accident, and I love it. Compared to Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earing, The Virgin Blue does seem less tightly written. But, I was amazed that it was her first novel. While reading the book, I felt like I had actually visited both contemporary and 16th century French settings. Characters are excellently drawn and this is better than a lot of writer's fifth and sixth novels. Also recommended; BARK OF THE DOGWOOD
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By Melissa Wright on July 20 2004
Format: Paperback
Having never read Chevalier's work I was very pleased with this novel, which is her first. The interesting thing to me was that the story took place at two different times in history but in the same geographic area. The first chapter introduces us to Isabelle, a girl who lives in France in the 1600s during a religious upheaval. Isabelle is seen as odd by her town because of her red hair, which was uncommon at the time. In chapter two we meet Ella, an American who has moved to France with her husband. Over the course of the novel Ella searches out her family history and finds that her family originated near where she now lives. The story is historical fiction while also discussing changes in relationships, personal revelations, and major life changes for many of the characters. I especially found the story changes by chapter interesting, and the way that Chevalier integrates the two main characters' stories toward the end. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction and world literature. I would suggest that someone who does not know European religious history well read the Historical Note at the end before beginning the story though.
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Format: Paperback
Having read "Girl With A Pearl Earring" before this (and loving that), I was unconsciously comparing the two while I was reading this book. I tried to stop myself from doing that (comparing two books from the same author) but it's an unconscious act that I find hard to control.
So knowing what I was getting myself into, I read Virgin Blue. And the final verdict? Tracy Chevalier never disappoints. Her writing style is impeccable. It's just so vivid you feel as if everything was happening right before your very eyes. And I appreciate the fact that her novel is well-researched and I learned something new, historically, when I read her books.
The story is good. It's about trying to find your identity, trying to find out who you really are. A topic that all of us can appreciate. It's quite an easy read, an entertaining, educational and enlightening read.
It's a good read for anyone and everyone but especially for women out there who have experienced a loss and who wants to be found.
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Format: Paperback
The first novel I read by Ms. Chevalier was "Lady and the Unicorn." Since then I've picked up every single title this talented author has penned. Some have been great, some have been just so so. I found Ms. Chevalier's first effort to be very entertaining with it's dual storylines. One from a historical perspective and the other a contemporary but they are both woven together to tell the story of one family. One should be aware since it is not stated prior to the start of the story that the historic portion of the story surrounding Isabelle du Moulin is set during the Protestant Reformation. This was an amazing scary time in history. Although there is a end note at the end of the story it may help some readers understand what is going on.
Ms. Chevalier is a very talented author and if you've read her before you may find this effort not as good as other titles. I suggest you come to this read with an open mind and if you don't compare you will find this a very nice and entertaining read.
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Format: Paperback
It's very interesting to me to see the wide range of opinions on this book. Clearly, if you are a Tracy Chevalier fan you will like this book, but whether or not you love it will depend on the type of novel you generally enjoy reading. The Virgin Blue has much more of a suspense element to it, so if you enjoy reading suspense-type literature this will hold your attention more than Girl with the Pearl Earring. I enjoyed that novel immensely, but it took longer to get into than this one. And I must disagree with the reviewer who took exception with Ms. Chevalier's portrait of the French. Having lived in France for 2 years and travelled in other parts of Europe, I think the author's description of certain characters, while stereotypical, are accurate portrayals. In any case, I loved this novel and hope you will give it a chance.
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