This book is remarkable and memorable. But it won't be for everyone's taste. Penelope Fitzgerald writes with the conversational style of 18th-century educated Germans: formal, florid, and somewhat stilted to 21st-century readers. In addition, Fitzgerald spends no time defining concepts, ideas, tasks, or activities of this time and place that are unfamiliar to modern readers. And yet, this short novel really works! It dramatizes the relationships and life of an 18th-century poet known today as Novalis, who lived at the same Romantic Period time, and trod some of the same paths, as the famous German philosopher, Goethe. While learning a "suitable trade" for a highborn, well-educated son of a financially strapped family, the young Novalis (Fritz) befriends a family. Among the members of the family is Sophie, a young girl with whom Fritz falls in love. The Blue Flower is the story of Fritz, Sophie, and their relationship.
This is an intelligent read, engaging story in easy chapters. It goes far beyond the mere scope of the historical account, written in novel form, and surprised me with its offbeat, sly humor and engaging relationships. I read it all in one day - but I can tell that it will sit with me for much, much longer. Might read again. Just the story of an 18th century German intellectual philosopher, who curiously falls in love with a dull, simple 12-year-old girl - well, it's a story that defies description.