Tracy Chevalier's _The Virgin Blue_ tells the tale of Ella Turner, who moves to France with her husband and embarks on research of the Tournier clan, her French relatives. Woven into the story is a narrative from a 16th century relative, Isabelle du Moulin. As Ella digs further into her past, she confronts challenges in her marriage, the unease of fitting into French village life, and a recurrent nightmare tinged with a distinct blue hue. Isabella has her own marriage difficulties, as well as questions of faith and superstition surrounding her.
Chevalier moves seamlessly through the two women's lives, writing so evocatively that it's easy to think that you really know these women--that they might actually exist. Bringing in accurate historical information from the Protestant Reformation and how it made its way through France, pitting the Hugenots against the Catholics, adds interest to the story.
The real focus of the story is how these two women, relatives stretching across time, are bound up in each other's lives, how actions in the past come back to haunt the present, and how superstition and premonition blend in ways that both intrigue and damage the believers.
This is definitely a quick read, but one that will keep you involved until the end.