In each, an elegant lady and a unicorn stand or sit on an island of grass surrounded by a rich background of animals and flowers. Little is known about them except that they were woven toward the end of the 15th century and bear the coat of arms of a wealthy family from Lyons.
Tracy Chevalier takes readers back to the tapestries' creation, giving life to the men who designed and made them, as well as the wives, daughters, and servants who exercised subtle (and not so subtle) influences over their men. Like the many different strands of wool and silk that were woven together into one cloth, the lives and fates of these people entwine in complex patterns, crisscrossing as they seek desires sensual and spiritual, temporal and eternal.
An extraordinary story exquisitely told, Tracy Chevalier's The Lady and the Unicorn weaves history and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry that rivals in grace and grandeur the masterpiece that inspired it.
©2004 Tracy Chevalier; (P)2004 Penguin Audio and BBC Audiobooks America
Romantic Times Award Winner - Best Historical Fiction, 2004
"Enthralling." (Publishers Weekly)
"Blumenfeld and Donnelly do a superb job." (AudioFile)
"The story she weaves is as lush as the tapestries she describes, and her colorful characters leap off the page. A romantic, beautiful book." (Booklist)
Rich and/or Lynn
This is one of my favorites, but I almost didn't listen to it. The male narrator starts it off and his voice sounded pretentious to me. I'm glad I hung in there. The female and male narrators switched off depending on the character speaking and I really liked that. I'm not knowledgeable about art, but that didn't matter. The characters and tapestry weaving process were fascinating and I never wanted it to end.
This was a Perfect Audiobook with a great plot, excellent writing, and terrific readers. Learning about art and tapestry weaving added to the fun. I enjoyed this as much if not more than the Author's Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Like another reviewer, I found Robert Blumfield difficult for me to understand with his French accent at the beginning. He also sounded pretentious which turned me off. But he was perfectly in character for the person in the novel and I soon forgot about any difficulty. Each segment in the novel is presented from the point of view of one of the people in the story, and the readers do a marvelous job of bringing each person to life in a unique, rich way, although my wife says the Brussels accent is not perfect. The pacing of the narration is excellent, and Chevalier's story is superb! My wife and I traveled back in our memory to our visit to Paris and the Cluny Museum as we listened, and the story brought the tapestries to life wonderfully. I wish we had heard - read the story before we went, but it is great now. My only complaint is that we listen to the story at bedtime and it wakes me up, it is so fun to hear! What a great writer and what great readers! Bravo!
I loved Girl with a pearl earring, and noticed many other americans did too at the Rijks museum in Holland. Crowds flooded the rooms with any Vermeer's, book in hand, hoping to see it, alas it was not there. I collect the Cloister tapestries by Haviland so I pounced on it. I hoped it would be as wonderful and involved like "Girl with..." but it was very vague where it could have been detailed. It ends abruptly, but leaves curiosity, so it's not a total loss. I crave to know all the juicy bits, and this one left too much to the imagiation. It did give a clear idea of life in that time. I give it a good overall rating if you are looking primarily to be entertained.
I chose this book because I absolutely loved Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring and Remarkable Creatures. This one was just OK. It was an interesting story, but didn't fully capture my interest. I also didn't learn about history nearly as I had with the others, especially in Remarkable Creatures.
At first, the narrators were a little hard to understand, but I quickly became accustomed to them and thought they did a decent job. I liked having two different narrators.
If you liked Girl with the Pearl Earring (same author), you'll like this one. It's the same concept of spinning a story around a recognized piece of art. I just couldn't get into the story and characters. Was slow to start. Could always guess what was coming. No big surprises.
Performances were great.
The readers were great and so was the story.
The Girl with the Pearl Earring
I love it when women in that time period were not portrayed as victims, but strong, courageous and smart.
The story was a reflection on the poignantly sad aspects of human existence at the time. I prefer a story that has a more positive slant as we are living through very troubled times in our country now.
All story lines were completed. No particular surprises.
No particular scene comes to mind, but the various descriptions of how the tapestries were made were fascinating to me, a former needlepointer. The description of how the blind character picked herbs and managed her garder was also very interesting.
Although I listened to the entire story it was not truly worth my listening time. The story was simply not my cup of tea.
In spite of my lack of enthusiasm for this well publicized book I have to acknowledge that the story was very well written by the author. Others may be perfectly happy with this story.
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