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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

Critic Reviews

"Tracy Chevalier has invented another juicy backstory to a great work of art...a lively, sexy, and thoroughly entertaining novel." (Entertainment Weekly)

"Subtly rendered, surprisingly complex characters...a novel notable for its human warmth." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Tracy Chevalier has spun a story as richly detailed as the medieval tapestries on which it’s based...a fascinating novel." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

What listeners say about The Lady and the Unicorn

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    80
  • 4 Stars
    113
  • 3 Stars
    88
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    15
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    53
  • 3 Stars
    34
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    9
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    9

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not Chevalier’s best book

I read this book thinking it would be much like Girl with the Pearl Earring. Unfortunately this book, also based on a historical artworks, is not as enthralling. Honestly I think the story used the tapestries as a unifying theme but the story overall could have just as well been told without them. I feel like the story and the tapestries were two different themes forced together. More of the book was used for talking about lustful young men and women then most anything else. it was a little dry, I thought it was decent but I would not call it a favorite. Nothing about it stands out and the storyline of the art was almost lost due to the side stories of each of the characters. Girl with a Pearl Earring built up to the theme of the painting while this story used The Lady and the Unicorn as a background, the one thing that tied all the characters together. I don’t know if it works to base an entire novel on the theme of phallic symbolism of 1500’s unicorns & attractive women. The notion is just a little too plain and a little too transparent.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Unappealing characters and bad audio

The main characters, Nicola and Cloude, are both arrogant, entitled, and self-centered. They are so bad the reader almost hopes they get together just so Nicola will get Cloude knocked up and abandon her, just like he does every other attractive woman he get close to. At least then Cloude might think outside herself. But alas, no. Tracy Chevalier attempts to make these 2 unlikeable people have a tragic love story. It falls flat. The saving graces of this book are the weavers and the description of how the tapestries are made. That family is kind in an age when brutish behavior is acceptable. They are a product of their time yet still sympathetic. The description of how tapestries are made is fascinating.

The production quality is mediocre. The sound levels are uneven and at times so quiet, you can't hear the performance. Please rebalance.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

a good story but it took a while to get into it.

I probably wouldn't have continued to listen if I had something else in my library. The first narrator was very difficult for me to understand. I am glad I stuck with it though. Tracy Cheveliar writes very well.

1 person found this helpful