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 Tracy Chevalier and other books 
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Post Tracy Chevalier and other books
I would like to know did you read some of her historical novels and what do you think of them? So far, I have read three books: The Virgin Blue, Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn. I am not a big fan but I would like to hear your opinion and maybe start a discussion.

Thank you.

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Last edited by Marija Vera on Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:17 pm
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier
I think I've read all of her books but I wouldn't say I'm a big fan either. The least favourite of mine was "Girl with a Pearl Earring"...I felt that the plot didn't really go anywhere. I think the one I like the most is "The Virgin Blue" as its set during a period of history I'm interested in. Its a very sad and melancholic (melachony?) story. "Burning Bright" is the most recent one I've read and there is reference to the French Revolution as its set in London in the late 18th century. It's a better book than I initially thought it would be. I'm a book-worm - love reading!!! :book:

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Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:39 pm
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier
That’s interesting. I liked Girl with a Pearl Earring more than The Virgin Blue, although I got many recommendation to read it since some people I know found it quite deep. I liked Girl with a Pearl Earring because the description of the whole process of painting, than the responsibilities of one made, her devotion to the painter… However, some things were too obvious, without any purpose or depth… Do you remember the overly evil character of one Vermeer’s daughter? All together, I found the book ok.
I didn’t like The Virgin blue. I thought that the whole book was poorly done; the plot was interesting and complex so it needed more work. I found that the both lives (of the two main characters) were not very well developed, especially the life of a modern girl. Her marriage and her idyllic husband, affair, search for ancestors… While reading the book and living the things they experienced I didn’t feel like knowing any of those women. Girl from the Girl with a Pearl Earring had some character, I didn’t see that in them, I couldn’t connect with them at any point. The modern girl was particularly disappointing. I don’t think she failed completely; just the book needed a bit more work. That is, of course, a matter of opinion.

I find the book good if it leave some impression on me or anyhow reflect on my life. No matter if it’s some classical or modern work, if I think, cry or feel enlightened after it, it was definitely worth reading. I don’t like when I don’t feel anything after it. That’s depressing. I must admit that none of her works left some more significant mark on me. It was good to cut the hours in school (I was reading during the long brakes and some boring classes) but nothing more. I will read Burning Bright, maybe I like it more.

I love reading too!

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Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:05 am
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier
Marija Vera wrote:
All together, I found the book ok.


This is how I feel about all her books really - they were all "ok". None of them had a really profound effect on me at all and I think the plots in all of them could do with more developing. Especially in the "The Virgin Blue", I don't like the way it ends...we don't know what happens to Isabelle, where she goes etc... Also, I hate it when you know what is going to happen straightaway in a book i.e. the modern girl (can't remember her name) meeting the Librarian...

It was a couple of years ago I read "The Lady and the Unicorn", this is the one about the tapestry and is set mainly in Belgium is it not?

One of my favourite authors is Sharon Penman - have you read anything of hers? "Sunne in Splendour" and "When Christ and His Saints Slept" are two of my favourite books ever!!! And the rest of her books are a brilliant read too.

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"It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom, for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

From the Declaration of Arbroath (Scottish Declaration of Independence), 1320.


Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:05 am
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
This is how I feel about all her books really - they were all "ok". None of them had a really profound effect on me at all and I think the plots in all of them could do with more developing.

This is the best way to put it and I couldn’t agree more.

It was a couple of years ago I read "The Lady and the Unicorn", this is the one about the tapestry and is set mainly in Belgium is it not?


I read it last year. Yes, it is about making a tapestry; it is set in France and mostly on the north. Is it in Belgium? I can’t remember precisely. The main character is one painter who fell in love with one girl Clod who is from the higher rank… In Belgium he stays with a family that makes the tapestry…He slept with one blind girl, her pregnancy helped her to escape marring one horrible man. Actually, the book is dealing with many complicated relations between the people. We have one unhappy mother, wild daughter, marriage problems, working family faced with a decision to sacrifice their blind daughter by marrying her to one awful man, playboy artist… and we hear their stories by following the path of making one beautiful tapestry.

It is not too bad; I liked how the process of making a tapestry is described. Since all the books are historical, I enjoy in the details that help me to reconstruct that time. I liked the end, I didn’t expect it and it had some effect. Still, I agree with your statement that I quoted.

One of my favourite authors is Sharon Penman - have you read anything of hers? "Sunne in Splendour" and "When Christ and His Saints Slept" are two of my favourite books ever!!! And the rest of her books are a brilliant read too.

Unfortunately, I haven’t. I was busy with some classic lately and some national writers.
My two ultimate favourite books are- Dangerous Liaisons (Laclo) and The Rice Mother (Rani Manicka). I should read The Rice Mother again, since I’ve read it long time ago, but still I remember it as one of the greatest book I’ve ever read. Dangerous liaisons I have read twice.
The last book I read was from Freud and I finished Goya’s Ghosts shortly before (Did you read it or watch the movie?). Today, I am beginning with Leonardo’s Swans (Karen Essex).

May I know how old are you? I am wondering are you younger, older than me.

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Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:26 pm
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
Marija Vera wrote:
May I know how old are you? I am wondering are you younger, older than me.


I'm 24...getting older by the minute :) lol! And you?

Marija Vera wrote:
Today, I am beginning with Leonardo’s Swans (Karen Essex).


I've been eyeing this book up in my local bookshop but I have a stack of books I've not even looked at yet - going to run out of space soon! Renaissance Italy...Have you read the book "The Secret Supper" by Javier Sierra. Think I was going through a Da Vinci Code phase (this book is about the painting of Leonardo's The Last Supper) - another good read.

Tracey Chevalier also wrote the book "Falling Angels" - it's set in London just after Queen Victoria's death. It was a while ago I read this but I think I'm of the same opinion as her other books.

I'm actually being quite negative about these books so you might wonder why I've read them all, but it is the fact that they are historical books that make me interested in the first place. I love reading books that are set in the past - medieval times and middle ages especially!!! :geek:

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"It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom, for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

From the Declaration of Arbroath (Scottish Declaration of Independence), 1320.


Last edited by Princess2 on Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:54 pm
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
I am 19. :angel3:

So far Leonardo’s Swans seems like a good book, it is definitely interesting (I have read only 70 pages) but I won’t make any other comment until I finish it. At this point, I like it.

Princess2 wrote:
Have you read the book "The Secret Supper" by Javier Sierra. Think I was going through a Da Vinci Code phase (this book is about the painting of Leonardo's The Last Supper) - another good read.

Now this is interesting. My friend gave me the book Leonardo's Swans with the book you mentioned! I’ve decided to read Leonardo’s Swans first and the other when I finish it. I am glad it is good! :book:

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Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:38 am
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
Marija Vera wrote:
So far Leonardo’s Swans seems like a good book, it is definitely interesting (I have read only 70 pages) but I won’t make any other comment until I finish it. At this point, I like it.


Could you let me know if it's worth reading when you've finished it?

Oh, and on a totally random note, have you ever read "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee?

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"It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom, for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

From the Declaration of Arbroath (Scottish Declaration of Independence), 1320.


Last edited by Princess2 on Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:57 pm
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
Now, since I finished, I may recommend it to you. The book is very good, I like it, it has some deepness and it is mostly historically accurate. It is set in Renaissance Italy and it covers not only lives of some significant rulers but also the state of the art in that period. We discover cruelty of the court, power and politics, twisted relationships while following lives of two sisters who married powerful rulers of the significant state-towns in the 15th century Italy.

I won’t go any further. I hope you will read it so we can discuss it. :book: It has some similarity to Tracy’s novels but also some burden that I didn’t feel in her books. :!:


(I think I read the book you mentioned but long time ago.)

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Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:44 am
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
It sounds good!!! I'll definitely pick up a copy when I'm in the bookshop next. Thank you :rainbow:

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"It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom, for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

From the Declaration of Arbroath (Scottish Declaration of Independence), 1320.


Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:23 am
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
You’re welcome. I can’t wait to start a discussion! :angel3:

I will read "The Secret Supper" by Javier Sierra soon so we can share opinions.

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If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi


Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:24 am
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
Princess2, I have read book by Javier Sierra but I didn’t liked it so much. I am not so fond of these types of books, religious, were you are solving some puzzle. It reminded me on the famous Dan Brown’s bestseller (The Da Vinci Code) that, even it is well written, I didn’t liked so much because it is like some Hollywood action movie (I am not fond of them either). I love interesting facts I can find out from these books but I find the plot pretty obvious.
I like novels with real people, deep characters and personal dramas. That’s why I usually avoid books with “hidden secrets”, especially about religion. One friend of mine is obsessed with it, I am not. :(

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If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi


Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:07 pm
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
Sorry to hear you didn't like "The Secret Supper" Marija. I suppose books like that are not to everyone's taste. After I read the "Da Vinci Code" i went through a phase of reading lots of other books along the same lines as it. But I think if you've read one then you've read them all. And I think the "Da Vinci Code" was the original and the best.

I'm currently reading "Marie Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter" by Susan Nagel. The last book I read on MA was Carolly Erickson's (spelling?) "To the Scaffold", which was at least 3 years ago!!! I didn't particularly enjoy it though - it didn't "flow" and I think maybe if anyone was reading this as their first book about MA it might put them off. Just my opinion though!

Next on my list are a "A tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens and "The Daughter of Time" by Joesphine Tey (novel on Richard III, one of my favourite historical figures, if not THE favourite!!)

Marija Vera wrote:
I find the book good if it leave some impression on me or anyhow reflect on my life. No matter if it’s some classical or modern work, if I think, cry or feel enlightened after it, it was definitely worth reading.


Have you ever read "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini? If you haven't read it, I would highly recommend it to you.

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"It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom, for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

From the Declaration of Arbroath (Scottish Declaration of Independence), 1320.


Last edited by Princess2 on Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:05 am
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Post Re: Tracy Chevalier and other books
I will see is it published in my county. I am thinking on start reading Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Since this is very large book I hope to hear some recommendations first. :help:

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Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:31 pm
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