The Blue. A Novel.
In eighteenth century England, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities. Fortunes are made and lost upon it, and kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces — and the secrets of their manufacture. However, for Genevieve Planché, the English-born descendant... show more
In eighteenth century England, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities.
Fortunes are made and lost upon it, and kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces — and the secrets of their manufacture.
However, for Genevieve Planché, the English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure. Having fine-tuned her artistic prowess during an apprenticeship to a silk painter in her native Spitalfields, she is offered a post decorating porcelain at her cousin’s factory in Derby.
Genevieve, however, has aspirations far beyond Derby. She wants to be an artist, a painter of international repute — and while nobody takes the idea of a female artist seriously in London, she fancies that things may be very different if only she can reach Venice.
So, when the charming Sir Gabriel Courtenay enters her life and offers to send her to Venice, Genevieve is very tempted. There is just one catch. First she must go to Derby, and learn the secrets of porcelain.
In particular, she must learn the secrets of the colour blue…
The ensuing events take Genevieve deep into England’s emerging industrial heartlands, where she quickly learns about porcelain and porcelain painting. She also learns a great deal about industrial espionage, the ruthless nature of business and the fact that bad apples are to be found in both the upper and lower echelons of English society.
She also learns much about love.
The wilful and intelligent Genevieve must meet many challenges head on; and she must also square her responses to them with the dictates of her Huguenot heart and spirit.
But when, ultimately, Genevieve finds herself in the presence of the French King, her own mortal enemy and the enemy of all Huguenots, will she be able to stay calm and decide exactly how much she is willing to suffer, in pursuit and protection of The Blue?