Blog Tour/Book Review: The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

The Blue banner

I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for historical novel, The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau, alongside my tour buddy, Margaret at Just One More Chapter.  You can read my review below.

My thanks for Hannah at Endeavour Media for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my advance review copy of The Blue.  Do check out the tour banner at the bottom of this post to see the other fabulous book bloggers taking part in the tour.

The BlueAbout the Book

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?

Format: Paperback, ebook (430 pp.)    Publisher: Endeavour Quill
Published: 3rd December 2018      Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase Links*  ǀ  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Blue on Goodreads

My Review

Genevieve makes for a feisty, resourceful and independent-minded heroine.  Finding her ambition to be an artist thwarted by her lack of independent means, her gender and the prejudices of the time, she unwillingly enters into a bargain that will see her come up against an equally resourceful but entirely unscrupulous adversary.  Genevieve will soon discover that, when it comes to the search for the secret to creating something new and unique in the world of porcelain, there are men (and women) who will stop at nothing.

It’s not long before Genevieve is well and truly out of her depth, uncertain who she can trust and risking not just her own life but the safety of those close to her.  Not only that, but she discovers her actions may jeopardise her faith, even the country of her birth.  Along the way, Genevieve – and the reader – gain fascinating insights into the history of porcelain and why, for some, it has become not just a money-making opportunity but an obsession.

Genevieve’s adventures are book-ended cleverly by her attendance at two very different social gatherings, the last of which results in her rescue from the sticky situation in which she finds herself courtesy of a particularly unlikely source.

The Blue is full of twists and turns, intrigue and unexpected revelations.  It’s a skilfully told story that positively races along, making for an engaging, colourful and compelling read.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of publishers, Endeavour Quill.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

In three words: Engaging, suspenseful, spirited

Try something similar…A Light of Her Own by Carrie Callaghan (read my review here)

NancyAbout the Author

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, DuJour, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. She is currently the deputy editor of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at City University of New York and a regular contributor to Town & Country, Purist, and The Vintage News.

A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. The Crown, her first novel and an Oprah pick, was published in 2012; the sequel, The Chalice, followed in 2013. The third in the trilogy, The Tapestry, was published by Touchstone in 2015. Her fourth novel, The Blue, was published on 3rd December.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Connect with Nancy

Website  ǀ  Facebook  ǀ  Twitter  ǀ  Goodreads

The Blue tour banner FINAL




Blog Tour/Book Review: Sadie’s Wars (Currency Girls #3) by Rosemary Noble

Sadies Wars

I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Sadie’s Wars by Rosemary Noble, alongside my tour buddies, Jo at Cup of Toast and Kathleen at CelticLady’s Reviews.  Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour.

Sadie’s Wars is the third book in Rosemary’s ‘Currency Girls’ series, a historical saga spanning continents and generations about a Australian pioneer family.  You can read my review below.

Sadie's WarsAbout the Book

Sadie is brought up amongst the vineyards of the Yarra Valley whilst her work-obsessed father reaps riches from the boom years before the Great War.  With post-war depression looming, Sadie’s only option is to flee from her disastrous marriage, seeking refuge in Cleethorpes, a small seaside town in northern England.

Years later, when her sons are in RAF Bomber Command, she receives a letter from her long-lost brother which forces her to confront the past and her part in her family’s downfall.

Can old wounds be healed? Will she find new love? Will this second war destroy everyone she saved?

Format: Paperback, ebook (310 pp.)    Publisher:
Published: 29th September 2018   Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase Links*  ǀ  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Sadie’s Wars (Currency Girls #3) on Goodreads

My Review

Sadie’s Wars is the third book in the author’s ‘Currency Girls’ series, the previous books being Search for the Light and The Digger’s Daughter, (neither of which I have read).

Reading Sadie’s Wars as a standalone, it did take me a little time to work out who all the different characters were in what is a large extended family with lots of siblings, in-laws, nephews and  nieces.  Added to this, the story shifts frequently between two different timelines and locations: Grimsby and Cleethorpes in World War Two, and various places in Australia in the first few decades of the twentieth century, including the years of World War One .  However, stick with it, and you’ll find, as I did, that eventually everything falls into place.

The scenes set in Australia allow the author to conjure up a picture of Sadie’s happy if itinerant childhood due to her father’s career, of her teenage years and disastrous first marriage.  I loved the evocative descriptions of the landscape which skilfully captured the harsh beauty of the Australian outback.  These sections brought home as well the vital part played by Australian troops (and other parts of the then British Empire) in World War One and the terrible losses they incurred.

The sections set in Cleethorpes during World War Two, where Sadie and her sons have made their home for reasons which will become clear as the book progresses, have equally vivid descriptions of the impact of war on the civilian population of Britain.  They also emphasize the vital role that cups of tea played in the war effort!

The ‘wars’ in the book’s title refer both to the actual wars that Sadie lives through.   Her concern for her sons when sending them off to serve in the RAF is all the more powerful knowing she is fully aware of the dangers they face, having experienced the impact of World War One.   However, Sadie is also fighting her own internal ‘wars’ as it were.  She feels guilt over the poor choices she’s made in the past leaving her reluctant to relinquish control over her life again as a consequence. Past presentiments of imminent danger to those close to her fuel her fears even more.  Sadie’s desire for independence, such as that enjoyed by her brothers, comes into conflict with a world in which seemingly everything is controlled by men.

A chance meeting provides the opportunity for Sadie’s life to take a more positive course and offer the prospect of a happier future.  But can Sadie find the courage to listen to her heart rather than be held back by fears of repeating mistakes of the past?  I really felt for Sadie as she struggles with the dilemmas that face her.  Knowing she made the wrong choice once (even if that was through the malign actions of others) and believing that in some way she is still being punished for it, she fears that grasping happiness for herself will necessarily demand a greater sacrifice than she’s prepared to make.

I enjoyed Sadie’s Wars and, having finished the book, was fascinated to learn from the Author’s Note how much was based on real events.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author and Rachel’s Random Resources.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

In three words: Engaging, emotional, dramatic

Try something similar…A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton (read my review here)


Rosemary writes: ‘I worked as a librarian, mostly with young people, so books have been my life, ever since I first stepped into a library and found a magical treasure trove. My other love is social history. Retirement gave me the opportunity to travel to Australia where I discovered stories that deserved to be written. I found a new career as an author which gives me immense pleasure. I write for myself but am delighted that others enjoy my books.’

Connect with Rosemary

Website  ǀ Facebook  ǀ  Twitter ǀ Goodreads

Sadies Wars Full Tour Banner