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The Virgin Blue: 05/07/07

The Virgin Blue

Midwife Ella Turner moves to France with her architect husband Rick. When they start trying for their first baby, Ella starts having nightmares about Isabelle du Moulin and a suffocating blue. Unsatisfied with her life in Toulouse, Ella has an affair and then flees briefly to distant relatives in Switzerland while she decides what she wants to do with her life.

To flesh out Ella's nightmares, Chevalier writes flashbacks of Isabelle's life. These flashbacks are by far the weakest piece of the novel and the most frustrating to read. Chevalier chose to write the dialogue in a very stilted fashion, using en dashes in place of quotes. This unfortunate choice in editing makes these flashbacks nearly unreadable and breaks the otherwise easy flow of the novel's narrative.

Ella's choice to leave Rick is never explained to satisfaction. Yes, she is lonely and feeling isolated in a foreign country but she never tries to express her dissatisfaction with Rick. Nor does she adequately explain how the nightmares are affecting her. Ultimately I felt sorry for Rick who may never get to know his child because of his wife's selfish behavior.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Tuesday, May, 8, 2007 at 18:24:18

Susan Helene Gottfried, MFA

That's one of the most interesting takes on the book that I've seen. Neat insight!"

Comment #2: Tuesday, May, 8, 2007 at 16:13:13


Thank you for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the review."

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