I enjoyed Chevalier’s The Girl With the Pearl Earring, so when I saw a copy of The Virgin Blue on a friend’s bookshelf, I borrowed it. The Virgin Blue was actually her debut novel, and while the writing isn’t quite as…sophisticated? as her follow up, it still makes for a good read.
Ella Turner has moved to France with her husband for his work, and is struggling to find some connection with her new country and it’s unwelcoming residents. She decides to do some research into her family, and uncovers some very interesting events that occurred about 400 years ago. Simultaneously, Chevalier tells us the story of Turner’s ancestor Isabella, who was caught up in the Reformation and forced into hiding.
It’s a pretty simple historical fiction novel, with a good romance, some unexpected twists and interesting side characters. The style of writing for the chapters set during the Reformation seems kind of forced, like she’s trying to be more “historical”. But it’s not too distracting and most of the plot occurs present day, anyway. Overall, I’d recommend it!