*** do not read if you prefer a spoiler-free posting ***
MOTIVATION for READING: I read this for and thus concludes my entry in the Dewey’s Books Challenge. This is my third Tracy Chevalier and third times are rarely good for me to review an author! I should stop after two. (I won’t be reading anymore Ishiguro Kazuo for awhile, either) Maybe I shouldn’t read debuts; my favorite Chevalier novel is Girl With a Pearl Earring and I enjoyed Burning Bright. My original post committing to the Dewey Challenge also posts a link to a much more favorable and less-spoiler review from Kailana which I link to again at the end of this.
I acquired the book through bookmooch.com.
WHAT it’s ABOUT: An American couple move to France; the wife chooses a house in a small town and they begin working on starting a family. However, she starts having an unsettling dream involving a vivid blue color every time they have unprotected sex. It just unravels from there and involves a search for her French heritage and a flirtation with a librarian. AND… we get a taste of life in 1600s France with a story line involving an ancestor who is scorned for her red hair and introduces the source of that blue color which happens to be cloth. Stories collide in the end. The characters set in our time have happy ending except the husband who goes to Germany with his job. Actually, I’m sure he was better off. The older story is just sad.
WHAT’s GOOD: I enjoyed learning about the historical aspects of the Catholic-Huguenot conflicts in old France.
WHAT’s not so GOOD: Hmmmm. The beginning of the book did not flow at all, it felt clumsy and was confusing. I didn’t like the main character – she was whiny. She did not respect her husband, in my opinion. The original event that makes the blue cloth so important was awful and senseless. And I just didn’t buy that she was the special ancestor divined to find this blue cloth. Yea, whatever.
MORE THOUGHTS: Do you think I allowed Eva’s comment to bias my approach to this book? I was actually more motivated to read this knowing she ‘loathed’ it. 🙂 I could guess why Eva didn’t like it… I waited to read her review and I totally understand her feelings. I wish I could remember what Dewey thought of it – seems like she agreed with Kailana? I would bet she was likely to be insightful and gentle with any criticism which I feel I’ve not been.
RATING: Two Pie Slices for “It’s OK.” Not actually awful and I don’t regret reading it, but I had a few issues with a few things to just throw me off from enjoying.