So, I have spent this past week in sixteenth century France, falling in love with the colour blue all over again, and then in early twentieth century London, tiptoeing through Highgate cemetery.
In The Virgin Blue, two women four hundred years apart are trying to plant themselves in French earth — trying to build themselves a home. The men around them are suspicious, but Etienne Tournier promises Isabelle that he will help her. That he will teach her how to write.
—Where do words come from? How does Monsieur Marcel get them from the Bible?
—… They fly, he replied firmly. He opens his mouth and the black marks from the page fly to his mouth so quickly you can’t see them. Then he spits them out.
As I chose to read this book on audio, the words certainly do appear to fly. Laurel Lefkow’s voice soars through the air via Bluetooth from my phone to my wireless headphones, as I scrub the oven, do the laundry and, in a moment of lockdown panic, bake a lemon meringue pie from scratch. As the lemon curd cools, I contemplate all the ways I would like to punish Etienne Tournier for the lies he is whispering in both my and Isabelle’s ears.