This week, I wanted to share another review of a book I read over the Christmas Holidays. We've all picked up books that we truly weren't sure about--ones that we wonder whether we'll like or not. This book fit neatly into that category for me. The cover was lovely. Blue--just like the title. But when a book is about something that to me is rather (ahem) meaningless in this day and age, how could it interest me?
Well, I was wrong. Nancy Bilyeau has crafted a phenomenal story out of the mundane. Porcelain springs to life both brilliantly and with a load of mystery. Check out my review and if you're as curious as I was about this book, then GET IT! You won't regret it!
The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau
Reviewed by Brook Allen
Huguenot and Englishwoman Genevieve Planche’ was born in England, despite French ancestry. Her heart is in painting and her frustration is her own sex, blocking her dream of learning more in-depth skills and interpretations, reserved for men. But when a tantalizing stranger enlists her help in spying within the porcelain industry, Genevieve’s youth, compulsiveness, and naivety lands her in a heap of trouble that suffocates her, leads to romance, adventure, and ultimately tests her character and resolve.
I loved this book.
Bilyeau transports the reader into a decadent world of high stakes intelligence, warfare, intrigue, and art. When nationalism is high in both England and France, the character of Genevieve begins to witness the breakdown of authoritarianism in sole rule. Cracks begin to show, but not before she’s completely overwhelmed in intrigue herself. Strong in faith, her resolve sometimes crumbles when it comes to men. However, Genevieve is also a young woman who quickly learns to recognize true friendships and the difference between real love and mere lust.
The industry of porcelain that Bilyeau researched and explored so thoroughly and efficiently is one that frankly, I would NEVER have placed an interest in. However, through her skillful and articulate story-telling—literally taking this donkey by the nose—she succeeded in enthralling me in this tale. From the streets of London to a factory in Derby, England, and then the shores of France, I learned a great deal about the trivial things driving nobility in Europe’s so-called Enlightenment Period. Truly, I didn’t know how the plot would end until we arrived in the glittering, yet tarnished presence of Louis XV and 18th century Bourbon France in all of its bankrupt glory.
This book is a breathtaking race to the end to see if love and justice will triumph—as well as whether “the Blue” becomes reality.
* Click on the book-cover to purchase the book.