I too thought this was a fast historical fiction read, but I also found it to be a bit sneaky. I did not guess at the surprise that awaits, but did guess at another part of the ending. It's also interesting to read about the life of a family of weavers... you just see these tapestries in museums now, but to read a possible way that they lived and the daily struggles they endured to complete these works... it gives a whole new layer to the works of art to me.
I didn't like it as much as Girl with a Pearl Earring, but most people have preferred it the other way around. It was interesting to me to learn about how the weaving was done, but wasn't as attached to the main characters, maybe from the shifting POV. It was interesting though, how the characters weren't all 'good' and wholesome, kept it interesting to see them (and their flaws) develop over time. I found it a pretty quick read.
an interesting novel of history and imagination involving the family jean le viste of paris 1490 and a famous art world's masterpiece, the lady and the unicorn tapestry. tracy chevalier weaves a good novel of the lives, loves and work of the residents of 1430 paris. as well as the history of the creation of work of art tapestry.
I really enjoyed this novel. I read it after Girl with A Pearl Earring and I liked both novels. I found this one to be somewhat lighthearted and did explain some of the technicalities of taspersty weaving. I thought the characters to be well developed and interesting. If you enjoy historical fiction this one is worth reading.
I love Tracy Chevalier and this is a good one. Fast paced, almost two stories in one. Based on a famous tapestry, this story takes you through Europe with a philandering artisan. Touching story of the life of a blind weaver. Full of descriptions that bring the book to life.
This book calls itself " a bawdy tale " on the book jacket and I would caution you if you are sensitive to sexual situations, although most are not graphic or over the top. Interesting for it's historical context and intrigue.
Chevalier has a lovely way of using a work of art as a jumping-off point for her fiction. This time it's the Medieval Tapestry of "The Lady and the Unicorn". Although this book is in no way comparable to "The Girl with the Pearl Earring", Chevalier has done a wonderful job of imagining the world of the Tapestry guild and the noble family that might have commissioned this work of art. A very nicely realized time-piece with interesting, believable characters.
This is the fictional story of the commission and completion of a 15th century tapestry. The tapestry is real, the author has written a fictional account of the creation of the tapestry and the lives of the people involved in it's making. The tapestry is commissioned in Paris but woven in Belgium with a great deal of historical detail regarding the two areas and the time.
Each chapter in this book is told from a different POV (the artist commissioned to design the tapestries, the family of weavers, the daughter of the patron commissioning the work, etc...). But the main characters are really the tapestries themselves. The author puts her spin on what she felts the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries represent, who the artist was trying to portray, the trials of making them, etc. Each tapestry literally tells the story of a different woman connected to them and how that tapestry is meant to portray some characteristic, trait, or desire of that woman. It's a bit hard to explain without giving too much away, so I recommend just reading it. I found this book to be a quick and interesting read. I enjoyed it much more than "Girl with the Pearl Earring."
This is another wonderful book from Ms Chevalier. She weaves history with imagination to produce a romantic account of the creation of one world's of the most mysterious works of textile art. Little is known about the known about the famous Unicorn Tapestries but the book includes the factual details of Ms Chevalier's research which she made this available at the story's end. Told in the first person, the perspectives of male male with female, and wealth with poverty are contrasted as each character provides an account of the action as the story progresses. Intertwined relationships are revealed as the story of a unicorn's seduction by 'beauty' is woven into a wall hanging that is literally 'fit for a king'.
I enjoyed this as much as Girl With A Pearl Earring. A good read that focuses on the happenings in both Paris and Brussels in the 1400s. The characters are artists, artisans, royalty, everyday people whose lives, loves and losses are part of the story about Unicorn Tapestries being created.
I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the "The Girl With the Pearl..." Took me a while to get all of the characters straight. The life and situations of the women made me glad I wasn't living at that time.
"The Lady and the Unicorn," by Tracy Chevalier, a novel about the making of the the famous unicorn tapestry in the 15th century, by the author of "Girl With a Pearl Earring." I would NOT have liked to be a woman in 15th century France! Or most anywhere in the world at that time, I think.
This was a light, quick read for me. While I've read that the equipment used to do the weaving in this book is historically inaccurate, I still liked learning about the how the weaving was done with the equipment they did use. The story the author created behind why the tapestry was made was cute. The author did use modern speak, rather than old speak for that time, which was fine; however, some of the expressions just seemed out of place. While this book does have a few sex scenes, they aren't all that detailed, which was a relief for me. This isn't normally my genre, so I was pleasantly surprised to find I enjoyed it.
Beautiful tapestry of the Lady and the Unicorn, although it's history and creator is unknown, this is an imaginary and delightful explanation of it's origin and the life and times of that era. This was most enjoyable reading.
While living in Europe these past 4 years, we became collectors of tapestries, mostly made in Belgium. A weeklong visit to Scotland our first year in Europe led us to Stirling Castle where a live demonstration of tapestry weaving showed us the project that was recreating the unicorn series as the originals were missing or severely damaged. What a surprise then to recently discover this book at the home of a friend! Though racier than I expected, it gave a great lesson on all aspects of tapestry creation--- from commissioning by a patron to the final delivery. I certainly appreciate the works of art I have collected now that I know so much more about the process.
This is a good book by the author of Girl With A Pearl Earring. I love the way this author takes a famous work of art from a certain time period and weaves a wonderful story around it. This time its about medieval unicorn tapestries.
I have now read all the books that I know of by this author and loved all but one of them. This was one of the ones that I loved. I read most of it the first night, staying up as late as possible to try to finish it, and finished it up as soon as I woke the next morning. Looking forward to Chevalier's next book!
I enjoyed this book,but it's not written as well as her others.The main character is a lecherous, womanizing,pig,and some of the terms he uses are very crass. I guess I just expected more from a Tracy Chevalier book.If it had been anyone else,I probably wouldn't have thought twice about it. Good story though.
I love all the books I have read by Tracy Chevalier! Her writing is so good you are with the characters even though their world is so totally different from ours. In addition I learned a lot about the time period. I gave this one up only so that I can get more books!
A very good read - rich in history. Not quite the page turner like Pearl - esp. at the beginning. Towards the end, I couldn't put it down. And did you know....copies of The Lady and the Unicorn tapetries decorate the wall of Gryffindor's Common Room in the Harry Potter movies!
Tracy Chevalier's books are so unique and interesting. This one tells the story of the tapestry series The Lady and the Unicorn. Her story syncronizes with the tapestries in a completely plausible manner, and like her other books enhances my appreciation of the work.
I really enjoyed this novel, as much as her other books. The one thing I didn't like is that the pictures inbedded in the middle of the book, of the six tapestries in the story, only show half of each tapestry. I actually searched online to see pictures of the full tapestries. I liked how each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character. I look forward to more books from this author.
Once again Tracy Chevalier brings to life a fifteenth century craftsman, in this case a weaver of tapestries. It is a well-told story which gives much insight into the work of the weaver and the other craftsmen involved in the manufacture of the beautiful tapestry.
Strong historical story. Each chapter in the "voice" of a different character. Interesting to learn about how paintings became tapestries, the rules governing weaving, and the symbols used. Also good social and family sub-plots.
I disliked the main character, the tapestry painter Nicolas des Innocents, by page 10, but I assumed that the author would have him grow and change as a person by the end of the book -- presumably through the process of creating the remarkable tapestries that inspired the novel? Sure, it's an obvious and almost cliché plot, but I don't need a crazy original plot in order to enjoy a book. Disappointed! He is still a pig at the end of the story.
There are two young women in the book: Claude, who is the daughter of the nobleman who commissioned the titular tapestries, and who is grumpy and horny and apparently would rather fool around with the slimy Nicolas des Innocents than have any worthwhile future; and Aliénor, the blind weaver's daughter, who is going to be married off to a disgusting brute whose smell literally makes her gag. Both of them have fathers who don't care about them or undervalue them, and mothers who basically care more about their virginity than their happiness.
I know life was very bad for women in the 15th century. But when I pick up a book set in that time, I expect the author to have worked around that problem and given me some way to live with the disgusting attitudes and expectations that the characters face. Again, I was disappointed here. This passage, in which the Claude's mother Geneviève de Nanterre has just discovered that Claude has been fooling around with the despicable Nicolas, gives you all you need to know about the inner life of the women in this book:
"I gritted my teeth. Claude knows only too well how valuable her maidenhead is to the Le Vistes -- she must be intact for a worthy man to marry her. Her husband will inherit the Le Viste wealth one day, if not the name. The house on the rue du Four, the Château d'Arcy, the furniture, the jewels, even the tapestries Jean is having made -- all will go to Claude's husband. Jean will have chosen him carefully, and the husband in turn will expect Claude to be pious, respectful, admired, and a virgin, of course. If her father had caught her...I shivered."
Of course it would be anachronistic for Chevalier to have written women who could be self-aware or expect anything other than the treatment they got, but to reduce the whole plot to the worst aspects of their lives -- not just their subjugation to men or the reduction of their value to just whether or not they are pure, but also the ruination of unwanted pregnancy and complete lack of education other than religious study -- was just depressing. And it wasn't enlightening-depressing, like My Jim, because it was bodice-rippy enough that I think we were supposed to be titillated and amused by all the bawdiness even as it ruined or threatened to ruin almost every female character in the novel. And contrasting the oppressive atmosphere that controlled literally every moment of Claude's life was the gallingly self-centred Nicolas, who waltzed through the novel with complete liberty, consuming women for his own pleasure and then leaving them (and their children) behind once they have served his purpose. I just couldn't have fun with it.
This book,like,"Girl With a Pearl Earring" has a similar fairy-tale quality. If the story says it is so, you must believe it is.The difference between this and a real fairy tale is that a real fairy tale is not rife with bawdy sex while Ms Chevalier's books are.
The book traces the production of a well known art piece and inserts characters and events of the true era, putting it all together as it may have happened.
If the review were condensed to a one word synopsis, it would be "Charming." I would recommend it to anyone mature enough not to be swayed by the sexual bawdiness so as to be confused about the role sex plays in history. It is written for females, but the sexual references make it sound as though it were written and thought out by a male...either that or I should go back and research the role of sexuality in past historical events.
This was a fascinating story. I especially liked how each character narrated the events from their own viewpoint, picking up the threads of the story from where the previous one left off. They each told their side in the order they appeared in the book, so there was no confusion about who was doing the narrating. Tracy Chevalier is an excellent author and I've read other books by her. Her stories are well organized and easy to read. D.
This historical book just flowed with storyline and I had to force myself to put it down. Each chapter of the book is told from a different character's perspective which is a writing style that I usually dislike but the story is so gripping that you keep going full steam ahead! The book contains information about tapestry weaving and social class structure of France in the late 1400's and is filled with romance. Absolutely loved it!!