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The Lady and the Unicorn | [Tracy Chevalier]

The Lady and the Unicorn

Bewitching art experts and enthusiasts alike for centuries, the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries hang today in the Cluny Museum in Paris.
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Publisher's Summary

Bewitching art experts and enthusiasts alike for centuries, the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries hang today in the Cluny Museum in Paris.

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

What the Critics Say

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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (196 )
5 star
 (37)
4 star
 (71)
3 star
 (57)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (10)
Overall
3.7 (47 )
5 star
 (12)
4 star
 (19)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Story
3.8 (50 )
5 star
 (12)
4 star
 (22)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    Lovin' life and winding down Parker, CO USA 07-12-05
    Lovin' life and winding down Parker, CO USA 07-12-05 Member Since 2005

    Rich and/or Lynn

    HELPFUL VOTES
    48
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    115
    5
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    0
    2
    Overall
    "Wonderful Audiobook!"

    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.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana C. 10-25-05
    Dana C. 10-25-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    308
    7
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Very enjoyable"

    I truly enjoyed this book. The first male reader put me off at first, but eventually the story grabbed me. Definitely worth the listen.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    reggie p PA 09-06-05
    reggie p PA 09-06-05 Member Since 2003

    reggie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    652
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    605
    72
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Great Story"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marsh Fair Haven, VT, United States 01-03-11
    Marsh Fair Haven, VT, United States 01-03-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    14
    4
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    Overall
    "Tremendous!"

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anne los angeles, CA, United States 02-04-06
    anne los angeles, CA, United States 02-04-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    28
    8
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "short story woes"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nursebettyknitting Boise, ID USA 01-14-14
    nursebettyknitting Boise, ID USA 01-14-14 Member Since 2010

    knitting fiend

    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
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    89
    30
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    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Needs to be re- recorded"

    The quality of this recording is plainly poor. A different narration(or an ongoing conversation) is heard in the background for almost all of the first half of this book. It is very distracting and I almost stopped listening. The male narrator sounds like an old man, even when acting as the young artist Nicola. I really did not even like anyone in this book until introduction of the blind Eleonore. Terry Donnelly saved the day and I give this book 3 stars for performance, just because Terry is so great. Overall, a wasted credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elana Shrewsbury, PA, USA 09-04-13
    Elana Shrewsbury, PA, USA 09-04-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    47
    8
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not as good as her other books"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ELeeTx Fort Worth, TX USA 08-09-13
    ELeeTx Fort Worth, TX USA 08-09-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hard to stay interested."
    What did you like best about The Lady and the Unicorn? What did you like least?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Robert Blumenfeld and Terry Donnelly ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Performances were great.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gee jacksonville, FL, United States 03-18-13
    Gee jacksonville, FL, United States 03-18-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really Good Book"
    What made the experience of listening to The Lady and the Unicorn the most enjoyable?

    The readers were great and so was the story.


    What other book might you compare The Lady and the Unicorn to and why?

    The Girl with the Pearl Earring


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I love it when women in that time period were not portrayed as victims, but strong, courageous and smart.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Gotsch PHOENIX, AZ, US 12-05-11
    Linda Gotsch PHOENIX, AZ, US 12-05-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    38
    2
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    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Excellent performance, Questionable story"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    All story lines were completed. No particular surprises.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


    Was The Lady and the Unicorn worth the listening time?

    Although I listened to the entire story it was not truly worth my listening time. The story was simply not my cup of tea.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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