Book Reviews of The Lady and the Unicorn

The Lady and the Unicorn
The Lady and the Unicorn
Author: Tracy Chevalier
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ISBN-13: 9780452285453
ISBN-10: 0452285453
Publication Date: 12/28/2004
Pages: 256
Rating:
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 312

3.7 stars, based on 312 ratings
Publisher: Plume
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

39 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 68 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on
Helpful Score: 6
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I loved this! Steamy and educational, my favorite combination. A great look at late medieval life and tapestry construction...and sex!
This book is a fast read, easy to digest and very enjoyable.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 87 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 201 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
"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.

But the book is definitely a keeper!
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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'.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 161 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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."
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 163 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Answer to one of artworks mysteries.Fans of Girl With a Pearl Earring, will enjoy this book.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 200 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 129 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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!
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A good piece of historical fiction. Very imaginative story based on some facts of nobility in 15th century France and a wonderful piece of art. Also an easy read.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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!
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great book. Interesting take on the mystrey behind one of the greatest masterpieces in the art world.If you enjoyed her book Girl With a Pearl Earring you will also enjoy this.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 337 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I don't know if I enjoyed this one as much as "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" but it was very very good. Similar in style to "Falling Angels" (which I actually wasn't too crazy about, btw)
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 204 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Historically interesting and characters that hook a reader
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 8 more book reviews
Good story, a lot of detail about a time long ago. Interesting to read about the weaving of tapestries.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 369 more book reviews
Another delightful and intricate story by Tracy Chevalier.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 8 more book reviews
Novel that follows the creation of a great tapestry in 15th century Europe
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 35 more book reviews
quick read, but very nice. Should be of considerable interest to anyone with an affinity for the art of weaving.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 80 more book reviews
Fascinating! Tracy Chevalier brings history to life! I look forward to reading more of her works.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 108 more book reviews
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.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 4 more book reviews
Tracy Chevalier, the author of "Girl with the Pearl Earring" loves to write period pieces and we love to read them. You will enjoy this book if you are a bit of a history buff.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 167 more book reviews
loved loved this book. i don't know why, but it's always hard for me to get into her books. i end up loving them though! can't wait to read her others!!!
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 26 more book reviews
Great period romance. I felt like I was almost there.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 20 more book reviews
I've seen "the other unicorn tapestries" at the Cloisters in New York City. Now this colorful story has taught me how those beautiful tapestries were actually made.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 8 more book reviews
loved this book, can't wait to read others by this author
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 1479 more book reviews
Throughly enjoyed the beauty of this story. So much history and description makes this a wonderful book
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on
It was withdrawn from the school library I work in because of "adult" content.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 15 more book reviews
I picked this book up because I loved "The Girl With the Pearl Earring". This one was almost as good!
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 26 more book reviews
Written by the author of GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, this book is fascinating.
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on + 6 more book reviews
Fine read!
reviewed The Lady and the Unicorn on
Enjoyable read.