The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier:
The basic plot of this book is the connection across time between two related women; Ella in the present day France and Isabelle in 16th century France.
Ella follows her husband to France for his work and finds herself with time on her hands and hostility from the locals in the smalltown they settle in. After experiencing disturbing dreams where she is surrounded by a vivid blue colour and receiving a letter from a cousin in Switzerland, she digs into her local family history deeper. At the same time we follow the story of Isabelle fleeing France with her family due to the Protestant Reformation, and the suspicion she encounters due to the colour of her flame red hair. Their stories gradually become intertwined as family secrets are revealed and Ella experiences an unexpected romance, putting pressure on her marriage.
I have read alot of books like this and they often get confusing or muddled as they switch back and forth between the different times. This one is particularly well written and until the last 2 chapters, keeps the stories completely seperate avoiding this pitfall. Both women's stories are engrossing and keep your interest equally. Once the author does intertwine them in the same chapters, it makes sense and the fast developing plot easier to absorb. The ending is not obvious from halfway through the book and the suspense is kept alive well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was a pretty quick read and also not too laboured on the historical details. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys this type of book.