Sunday, May 18, 2014

Unicorns and Millefluers

The Lady and the Unicorn –by Tracy Chevalier

Fiction / Historical
256 pages / 496 KB
5 Stars

Paris and Brussels 1490-1492. If you like historical fiction, and by now it should be pretty obvious that I do, you will truly enjoy this book.

My one quibble is that sometimes I forgot who was talking and had to flip a few pages back to remind myself. I would have liked a personal cue as to who spoke. Perhaps a lisp for one, a tic for another, a stutter—something. Admittedly, they may have been there, and so subtle I didn't read them. I do tend to get totally engrossed in a good story, and I was totally engrossed in this book.

The story of the beautiful tapestries, and how they came to be, is told by several different people. Claude Le Viste, they young and virginal oldest daughter of the nobleman Jean Le Viste, who is not only willing, but wanting, to through away her virginity to the lecherous painter with the silver tongue, Nicholas des Innocentes. Her mother tells her story, Nicholas his, and of course we have those marvelous folk in Brussels who weave the tapestries telling their story.

The Notes and Acknowledgements at the back of the book are to be read. I know many folk skip that part, but here Ms. Chevalier tells us what happened to the people on whom this tale is based. (When reading historical fiction it is always wise to read any Preface, Notes, etc. that one finds at the beginning, ending, or both of the story;-)

The descriptions of the people were wonderful, how they were treated, how they dressed. Especially the differences of the domiciles of the Le Viste family, the weavers in Brussels, and Nicholas's rough apartment.

While the story is about a series of tapestries woven of wool, Ms. Chevalier does a remarkable job of weaving her own tapestries from words, without skipping a stitch. Highly recommend this book for those of you who like Historical Fiction.

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