The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

Book Review. Read via The Pigeonhole.


In eighteenth century London, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities; fortunes are made and lost upon it. Kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces and the secrets of their manufacture.

For Genevieve Planché, an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure; she wants to be an artist, a painter of international repute, but nobody takes the idea of a female artist seriously in London. If only she could reach Venice.

When Genevieve meets the charming Sir Gabriel Courtenay, he offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse; if she learns the secrets of porcelain, he will send her to Venice. But in particular, she must learn the secrets of the colour blue…

The ensuing events take Genevieve deep into England’s emerging industrial heartlands, where not only does she learn about porcelain, but also about the art of industrial espionage.

With the heart and spirit of her Huguenot ancestors, Genevieve faces her challenges head on, but how much is she willing to suffer in pursuit and protection of the colour blue.

The Blue is a well researched novel, set in the mid eighteenth century, within the time of The Seven Years war.

The main character, a feisty and determined young woman called Genevieve Planche, dreams of being an artist.

A young Huguenot woman, raised in London, considers herself English and has a serve dislike for the french king.

However in these times it is unheard of for a woman to become an artist. Particularly in England and even more so in France.

Enter Sir Gabriel Courtenay. A rich gentleman that Genevieve meets at a party (unsurprisingly one she isn’t meant to be at!) and offers her the chance and finances to go to Venice, where such a dream may be achievable. However, there is a ‘little something’ he requires her to do in exchange for his offer. I will not give too much away here as this forms the main part of a good nail biting adventure story taking the reader from Spitalfields to Madame Pompadour’s residence at Versailles.

It is an interesting novel that effortlessly mingles fact with fiction that had me searching google to find out more about different topics, times and people mentioned throughout the book. A brilliantly paced novel, which made the book for me and also worked very well with reading it via The Pigeonhole app. Eagerly awaiting he next stave to continue the story.

I found this a great historical adventure with a great sense of time and place with some real life historical events sitting well in the background. The only gripe I personally had was that I felt the ending was a little to neat and quickly tied up. Like another review I have read I was imagining it ending on a cliff hanger and possibly a second book.

The Blue is available now and published by Endeavour Quill.


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