23 March 2008

reading again

The best thing about joining a book group is that I am making time to read again. Time I don't really have to spare, so my house is a total disaster right now, but I just read a really great book, so who cares, right? It was The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier. Wow. I give it 2 thumbs up.

Here's the plot synopsis from the back cover:

Meet Ella Turner and Isabelle du Moulin - two women born centuries apart, yet tied together by a haunting family legacy. When Ella and her husband move to a small town in France, Ella hopes to brush up on her French, qualify to practice as a midwife, and start working on a family of her own. Village life turns out to be less idyllic than she expected, however, and a strange series of events propels her on a quest to uncover her family's French ancestry. As the novel unfolds - alternating between Ella's story and that of Isabelle du Moulin four hundred years earlier - a common thread emerges that pulls the lives of the two women together in a most mysterious way. Part detective story, part historical fiction, The Virgin Blue is a novel of passion and intrigue that compels readers to the very last page.

I really enjoyed this. It was Chevalier's first novel and definitely not as good as Girl with a Pearl Earring, but I like her simple writing style. She reminds me a little of Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat. Very beautiful and evocative.

If you enjoy a quick, easy read that is still beautiful, here are a few books I recommend:

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

Birds of America (short stories) by Lorrie Moore

The Lone Pilgrim (short stories) by Laurie Colwin


Olivia said...

I loved Kitchen!! I too enjoy the same style of "simple" writing that Banana Yoshimoto and Tracy Chevalier use. If you haven't read The Lady and The Unicorn yet, I highly recommend it. Yay reading!

Retainer Girl said...

Olivia has mentioned Banana to me many times. I need to read her! Her books sound great.

girlysmack said...

O - I have read it. It was good, but I like the other 2 better. And I tried Falling Angels (or whatever it's called) but I just couldn't get into it.

K - Her other books aren't as good, in my opinion. But I think they have different translaters, so it would be interesting to see how much depends on who is doing the translations...