Nancy Bilyeau's The Blue
Porcelain. Not what I thought would make for exciting reading, but in this fabulous book, it's a commodity that drives politics, espionage, and obsession.
The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau
Endeavor Quill, 2018
Review copy from publisher
I'm a longtime fan of Nancy Bilyeau's books: rich with drama and unforgettable characters, they are the kind of books that just sweep you up. Here, Bilyeau makes an industrial endeavor -- the 18th century passion for blue porcelain -- a captivating, dramatic story, centered on a winning heroine.
Genevieve Planché is a descendant of French Huguenot refugees. A talented artist, she hopes to be mentored by William Hogarth, but her grandfather wishes her to work as a artisan at the Derby porcelainworks. Her rebellious childhood sweetheart leads her, instead, into a mystifying, increasingly deadly world of industrial espionage -- and us readers into a fascinating world where the scientific pursuit of blue glaze motivates nations and nobles.
I loved every page of this book, and my only complaint is that I felt it wrapped up a little too quickly. Genevieve is an intriguing character, one of those fiery heroines who feel authentic rather than overly modern, and she's faced with complicated challenges. (Honestly, there was a point where I was wishing we could have a novel where she sides with our 'villain' because their chemistry was just as delicious as hers with the hero.) Bilyeau evokes Genevieve's world without infodumping and the interpersonal drama is so good and so real.
Another winning read from Bilyeau!