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The Virgin Blue

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Perfect for fans of Barbara Erskine, Kate Morton and Sarah Waters, this is historical fiction at its very best.

The compelling story of two women, born four centuries apart, and the ancestral legacy that binds them.

Ella Turner does her best to fit in to the small, close-knit community of Lisle-sur-Tarn. She even changes her name back to Tournier, and knocks the rust off her high school French. But it is all in vain. Isolated and lonely, she is drawn to investigate her Tournier ancestry, which leads to her encounter with the town’s wolfish librarian.

Isabelle du Moulin, known as Le Rousse due to her fiery red hair, is tormented and shunned in the village – suspected of witchcraft and reviled for her association with the Virgin Mary. Falling pregnant, she is forced to marry into the ruling family: the Tourniers. Tormentor becomes husband, and a shocking fate awaits her.

Plagued by the colour blue, Ella is haunted by parallels with the past, and by her recurring dream. Then one morning she wakes up to discover that her hair is turning inexplicably red…

Reviews

‘Tracy Chevalier’s first novel is a triumph. Excellent’ Time Out

‘An intriguing and poignant read’ Sunday Express

‘Such an achievement for a serious writer that you feel it deserves an award’ Independent

‘A beautifully crafted story shot with vivid colours’ The Times

About the author

Tracy Chevalier is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring, Remarkable Creatures, The Virgin Blue, Falling Angels, and The Lady and the Unicorn. Born in Washington, DC, she moved to London in 1984, where she lives with her husband and son. She has a website at www.tchevalier.com.

From Publishers Weekly

23 June 2003 – Chevalier's clunky first novel, initially published in England in 1997, lacks the graceful literary intimacy of her subsequent runaway hit, Girl with a Pearl Earring. In split-narrative fashion, it follows a transplanted American woman in southwestern France as she connects through dreams with her distant Huguenot ancestors. The primary plot concerns the plight of Ella Turner, an insecure American midwife of French ancestry. Her architect husband, Rick, has been transferred from California to Toulouse, France, with Ella accompanying him. Often left alone, she becomes lonely and isolated, and when she decides it's time to have a baby, she begins dreaming of medieval scenes involving a blue dress. In alternating sections of the novel, these details are developed in a narrative about a 16th-century French farm girl and midwife, Isabelle du Moulin, and her eventual marriage to overbearing tyrant Etienne Tournier. Isabelle and Etienne belong to a vehemently anti-Catholic Calvinist sect that overthrows the village's cult of the Virgin, who is also known as La Rousse and depicted in paintings as red-haired and wearing a blue dress. Because of her own red hair and midwifery practice, Isabelle is suspected by her husband of witchcraft and punished accordingly. Ella, with the help of magnetic local librarian Jean-Paul, researches the lives of Isabelle and Etienne, trying to get to the bottom of her strange dreams. Chevalier tries hard to make Ella sympathetic, but her dissatisfaction with Rick is baffling, as is her attraction to the chauvinistic Jean-Paul. Equally difficult to swallow is the heavy-handed plot, which relies on jarring coincidences as it swerves unsteadily from past to present.
The Virgin Blue
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  • £3.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: 17 April 2009
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 312 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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