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The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
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The Lady and the Unicorn (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Tracy Chevalier

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,525None1,500 (3.52)130
Member:amdrane2
Title:The Lady and the Unicorn
Authors:Tracy Chevalier
Info:Dutton Adult (2004), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 250 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:historical

Work details

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (2003)

15th century (75) 2004 (17) art (155) art fiction (20) art history (19) Belgium (70) Brussel (37) Chevalier (15) fiction (467) France (141) hardcover (19) historical (108) historical fiction (457) historical novel (21) history (41) literature (17) love (16) medieval (72) Middle Ages (47) novel (64) own (27) Paris (35) read (61) romance (34) tapestry (145) to-read (57) unicorn tapestries (17) unicorns (37) unread (30) weaving (22)
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Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
A wonderful story about a set of tapestries, the artist who designed them, and the family of weavers who made them. ( )
  Ginerbia | Feb 14, 2014 |


Loved Pearl Earring, but this one fell so very short for me. It was so difficult to get through this, that I ended up skipping irrelevant parts. I hated this. ( )
  TheInvernessie | Nov 26, 2013 |
Incredibly clunky and just flat-out dull. If you've read Girl With a Pearl Earring you can pretty much track where this story's going to go. It's very predictable and the sexual subplots were laughable in places. Sorry, Ms Chevalier, but this was just not worth my time, even for the really lovely scenes describing the tapestries (and those tapestries are amazing. Seriously, google them). ( )
  Ceilidhann | Sep 20, 2013 |
After the disaster that was The Virgin Blue, I started this book was some trepidation, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The Lady and the Unicorn is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction, relying heavily on characters to move the plot along. The historical setting was interesting and believable, but only felt secondary, an incidental world in which the characters happened to live. I enjoyed hearing the story from the perspectives of many characters, finding all of them flawed and therefore interesting. My only complaint was the difficulty in finding copies of the actual tapestries to look at. I was only able to get decent images of the "Mon sel desire" and one other. Having a good look at them would have made the descriptions really take flight, especially as they tapestries were tied so closely with the characters themselves. Ah well. ( )
  Snukes | Jun 14, 2013 |
Basic Facts: Set in France in 1490; A fictionalized story based on the artists and weavers who designed and crafted a series of ornate tapestries depicting the seduction of a unicorn

Things I Liked: Easy to read; A nice sense of atmosphere; An engrossing story; Prompted me to read more about actual historical events

Things I Didn’t Like: Many unlikeable main characters; Sex plays large role in the story – perhaps echoing the seduction theme of the tapestries- a bit of an “ick” factor at times for me

Recommended for: Fans of Tracy Chevalier’s other books and historical fiction geared towards women ( )
  Kimaoverstreet | May 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tracy Chevalierprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hasselberger, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirch, Eve L.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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