The Tapestry of Love

Every once in while I like to challenge myself to review a novel in a single word.  Obviously, as a blogger, I know that I'm way more verbose than I probably need to be when describing books, but I suppose that's why I find it fun to see if I can identify a single word - usually an adjective - to sum up my feelings about an entire novel.  Whether it is "hilarious", "thrilling", "powerful", or "heartbreaking" I can often pinpoint one to capture my feelings.  If I were to pick a single word to encompass my review of Rosy Thonton's book The Tapestry of Love, that word would be: beautiful. 

Catherine Parkstone is a divorced woman with grown children who seizes the chance to make a new start when an opportunity to move to France presents itself. Settling in the countryside in a scenic and rural hamlet in the Cévennes Mountains, Catherine nestles in and sets up her own business as a seamstress. The landscape is picturesque, the work is a pleasure, and the neighbors are delightfully charming - especially the intriguing Patrick Castagnol. But when French bureaucracy puts a kink in her plans and a visit from her city-girl sister Bryony complicates Catherine's budding relationship with Patrick, Catherine must decide if her idyllic picture of life in France can ever be the reality she hoped for.

The Tapestry of Love was a wonderful novel. Rosy Thornton brings the people and countryside of the Cévennes National Park to light in stunning detail. Catherine Parkstone was a character written with a degree of realism that had her climbing off the pages. She was fully drawn and fully endearing; and the equally complex supporting characters came to life interacting with her. I loved her passion and talent for embroidery and upholstery - what could be construed as a mundane, domestic task is an art form for Catherine, and through her eyes, it is enchanting to the reader as well.

As much as this is a character centered story, it is also a novel about place. The gorgeous backdrop of the Cévennes Mountains calls to Catherine and as she falls in love with the region, so does the reader. From the first experience Catherine has with the transhumance - a grand migration of the area's livestock - the reader sees that the Cévennes setting is a foreign world for the heroine, and it is a breathtaking journey to discover if she dares to truly make it her home.

For setting, characters, and overall writing style, it should be no surprise that the word I would choose for this book is "beautiful".  From start to finish it was a lovely work that left me longing for a bit of rural escape.  Though I don't see my roads leading me to France any time soon, I will definitely be led to check out more of Thornton's work.

And stay tuned this week for my interview with author Rosy Thornton!

3 Response to "The Tapestry of Love"

  1. Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) says:
    May 3, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Beautiful. Sounds so good!

  2. Anita says:
    May 3, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Sounds beautiful.

  3. Jen the bibliophile says:
    May 4, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    I've never thought about describing a book with one word. Maybe it's because I talk way too much, but I like the idea. A lot. The Tapestry of Love sounds like a good pick.

    Jen
    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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