“Chevalier is one of those authors that I always intended to read again. I really enjoyed The Girl with the Pearl Earring and several of the book groups at my library have picked books by her to discuss. I just never got back to her. Fortunately, my friend brought this book with her on vacation and handed it to me when she was done.
To start, I thought Chevalier's book about Vermeer was her first and secondly I thought all of her novels were based on historical characters. This novel is based on history, but the characters were all imaginary. Two pleasant surprises and I hadn't even begun reading.
As I have said in my reviews before, I like learning about new worlds and ideas while I read. I also like meeting characters who would be interesting to meet in real life. Chevalier gave me all these things in The Virgin Blue. I knew very little about the Huguenots and rural France before I started this novel. I don't know much more, but I am a bit more knowledgeable about that religion than I was.
Also I am very grateful to have met Isabelle and Ella. They are both wonderful, strong, independent women and I would be happy to sit down with them and just talk. Chevalier does a good job of telling both their tales without making their link to each other totally impossible. I did have to suspend some of my rationality, but it was easy to do.
If you like historical fiction, exploring family ties, interesting characters, or happy endings - this is the novel for you.