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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Virgin Blue

1. Discuss the commonalities between Isabelle and Ella. Do you feel that they mirror each other?

2. Compare Isabelle's 16th century France to Ella's modern day France. Are there any similarities? Differences?

3. Do you think Ella is harsh on Rick for his inability to understand her? Do you think she is justified in her behavior?

4. Does your opinion of Jean Paul fluctuate throughout the novel?

5. How Ella's goal of getting pregnant interrupted? What does the interruption say about her feeling toward Rick?

6. How do the locals in France receive Ella? Does Rick have the same experience? Would Ella have known what the locals were saying about her without Jean Paul telling her?

7. Describe Ella's relationship with her cousin Jacob like? How do he and his wife help Ella feel "at home"?

8. Discuss the significance of Ella's hair gradually turning red. Discuss her reaction. What is Rick's reaction?

9. Who do you consider to be the heroine of this novel?

10. What was your reaction to Ella finding Marie? What was your reaction to Ella showing Sylvie Marie's bones?

11. Why does Ella get psoriasis? What does it represent? How does it make her feel about herself? How does Rick react to it?

12. Hannah's last audible words are "we are safe". Why does she stop speaking?

13. How does Ella know that the baby she conceived is Rick's and not Jean Paul's? Do you think she'd rather be pregnant with Jean Paul's baby?

14. Why does Ella steal Jean Paul's blue shirt? How does this link them metaphorically?

15. Discuss Rick's reaction to Ella's affair with Jean Paul.

16. Overall, do you consider this to be Ella's story or Isabelle's story?

The Virgin Blue
by Tracy Chevalier

  • Publication Date: June 24, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Plume
  • ISBN-10: 0452284449
  • ISBN-13: 9780452284449