The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

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Synopsis

A tour de force of history and imagination, The Lady and the Unicorn is Tracy Chevalier’s answer to the mystery behind one of the art world’s great masterpieces—a set of bewitching medieval tapestries that hangs today in the Cluny Museum in Paris. They appear to portray the seduction of a unicorn, but the story behind their making is unknown—until now.

Paris, 1490.  A shrewd French nobleman commissions six lavish tapestries celebrating his rising status at Court. He hires the charismatic, arrogant, sublimely talented Nicolas des Innocents to design them. Nicolas creates havoc among the women in the house—mother and daughter, servant, and lady-in-waiting—before taking his designs north to the Brussels workshop where the tapestries are to be woven. There, master weaver Georges de la Chapelle risks everything he has to finish the tapestries—his finest, most intricate work—on time for his exacting French client. The results change all their lives—lives that have been captured in the tapestries, for those who know where to look.

In The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracy Chevalier weaves fact and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry—an extraordinary story exquisitely told.


 

About Tracy Chevalier

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TRACY CHEVALIER is the New York Times bestselling author of five previous novels, including Girl with a Pearl Earring, which was translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film. Born and raised in Washington D.C., she lives in London with her husband and son.
 
Published December 28, 2004 by Plume. 256 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Lady and the Unicorn

Kirkus Reviews

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Eventually, the lovelorn Nicolas (who ends up modeling the lady in the tapestries on Claude) is sent off himself, to Brussels, to collaborate with master weaver Georges de la Chapelle.

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The Guardian

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The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier 256pp, HarperCollins, £15 In late-15th century Paris, a parvenu nobleman commissions a set of tapestries to impress the smirking snobs at court.

Sep 20 2003 | Read Full Review of The Lady and the Unicorn

Publishers Weekly

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Chevalier, whose bestselling Girl with a Pearl Earring showed how a picture can inspire thousands of words, yokes her limpid, quietly enthralling storytelling to the six Lady and the Unicorn tapestries that hang in the Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris.

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Book Reporter

He wants tapestries depicting the glories of war, but the artist, Nicolas des Innocents --- who specializes in portraits of noblewomen --- convinces Le Viste that a series of tapestries about courtly love will still bring glory to the Le Viste name.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Lady and the Unicorn

AV Club

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Given how closely Tracy Chevalier's The Lady And The Unicorn mimics her first bestseller (Girl With A Pearl Earring) in tone, theme, and detail, it's astounding how dissimilar the two books are in everything but readability.

Feb 24 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lady and the Unicorn

Entertainment Weekly

Slight, luminous, and hugely popular, Tracy Chevalier's 2000 novel, ''Girl With a Pearl Earring,'' told a nuanced tale of the powerful attraction between the painter Johannes Vermeer and Griet, the modest, soulful housemaid who (in Chevalier's account) posed for one of his most mysterious and bea...

Jan 09 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lady and the Unicorn

Suite 101

Rhoda and Samuel each have problems but together they could be successful..

Oct 05 2007 | Read Full Review of The Lady and the Unicorn

People

Fans of Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring, the 2000 bestseller and now a movie, will no doubt enjoy her new book.

Jan 12 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lady and the Unicorn

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Reader Rating for The Lady and the Unicorn
72%

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