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The Lady and the Unicorn (original 2003; edition 2004)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452285453, Paperback)If you think you wouldn't raise your skirts for a rakish legend about the purifying powers of a unicorn's horn, then maybe you aren't a 15th-century serving girl under the sway of a velvet-tongued court painter of ill repute. In keeping with her bestselling Girl with a Pearl Earring, and its Edwardian-era follow-up, Falling Angels, Tracy Chevalier's tale of artistic creation and late-medieval amours, The Lady and the Unicorn is a subtle study in social power, and the conflicts between love and duty. Nicolas des Innocents has been commissioned by the Parisian nobleman Jean Le Viste to design a series of large tapestries for his great hall (in real life, the famous Lady and the Unicorn cycle, now in Paris's Musee National du Moyen-Age Thermes de Cluny). While Nicolas is measuring the walls, he meets a beautiful girl who turns out to be Jean Le Viste's daughter. Their passion is impossible for their world--so forbidden, given their class differences, that its only avenue of expression turns out to be those magnificent tapestries. The historical evidence on which this story is based is slight enough to allow the full play of Chevalier's imagination in this cleverly woven tale. --Regina Marler
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:22 -0400)
HISTORICAL FICTION. From the bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring comes a historical tale of love, sex and revenge. Jean le Viste, a newly-wealthy member of the French court, commissions a series of tapestries to hang in his chateau named 'The Lady and the Unicorn.' Nicolas, his chosen designer, is a talented artist. He is also dangerously attractive to the women around him including le Viste's wife, Genevieve, and his daughter, Claude. Nicolas is at once smitten with Claude but will her social standing prevent her from returning his advances? As Nicolas begins to weave the tapestries so too do the lives and desires of the people around him intertwine. As people fall in love, are shunned, take revenge, find unrequited love, turn to the church or to pagan ideals, the tapestries become to each an ideal vision of life - yet all discover that they are unable to make this ideal world their own.
(summary from another edition)
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