Synopsis according to GoodReads:
"Paris, 1490. A shrewd French nobleman commissions six lavish tapestries celebrating his rising status at Court. He hires the charismatic, arrogant, sublimely talented Nicolas des Innocents to design them. Nicolas creates havoc among the women in the house—mother and daughter, servant, and lady-in-waiting—before taking his designs north to the Brussels workshop where the tapestries are to be woven. There, master weaver Georges de la Chapelle risks everything he has to finish the tapestries—his finest, most intricate work—on time for his exacting French client. The results change all their lives—lives that have been captured in the tapestries, for those who know where to look."
The Lady and the Unicorn is medieval historical fiction done well- though the characters live in a time and culture far removed from my daily experience of life, I could relate to them completely. Except Nicolas des Innocents, who is a rake and a scoundrel.
This book has a unique narrative style, with each chapter being told by a different character in the ensemble. The primary journey is that of Nicolas, but every character undergoes a transformation of some sort, and there are no happy endings.
I was impressed with the historical detail that was woven into the storyline, especially the attention to detail regarding the creation of tapestries. I had no idea how that happened in the middle ages, and feel like I have some sense of it (basic, but still) after reading this.
I recommend it to fans of historical fiction, medieval life, ensemble casts, and the dynamic between parents and children.
Labels: book review, ensemble, historical fiction, literary friday, medieval, tapestry, the lady and the unicorn, tracy chevalier, weaving