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Thoughts on “The Tapestry of Love” by Rosy Thornton

Miz B. was kind enough to send me her copy of The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton, and though I have been remiss in getting it read, I finally began it during the recent Readathon.

About the Book:

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton (cover)Catherine Parkstone is starting fresh when she moves from England to rural France, leaving behind her sister, mother, two grown children, and ex-husband and embarking on her own dream of making a living as a seamstress and tapestry maker. As she begins to settle into her new, rather isolated life, she encounters the sorts of unexpected quirks that often accompany wholly unfamiliar living situations and begins to build a little community of friends and neighbors. As life flows on, so does Catherine’s story.

My Thoughts:

The best word I can think of to describe The Tapestry of Love is “nice.” If you are seeking a quiet novel full of rural charm and lovely people, look no further. It has all the idyllic foreignness and that woman-on-her-own feel of Frances Mayes’ well-known Under the Tuscan Sun. It makes no unreasonable demands on the reader but tells a simple, easy story fully within the realm of the imaginable.

I liked Catherine very much. She was logical, but not at all to a fault; independent, but not annoyingly so. She was just the sort of character through whom to experience life in a place like the Cévennes mountains. Her family and neighbors took on lives and personalities of their own, so that by the novel’s end, Catherine existed within a good-sized matrix of very real and endearing supporting characters.

Thornton’s writing is lovely, well-suited to the sort of book she has written. She has a knack for describing a place so that you can see it in your mind’s eye without feeling like you have just slogged through descriptive excess. I liked how she spent so much time on the small things in daily life, allowing the few bigger events to occur in their own space rather than layering them for dramatic effect. Catherine’s progression throughout the novel felt real because of it.

SPOILER ALERT!

I did have one issue. My problem was that I didn’t like Patrick. I wasn’t against him at the beginning and was interested to see what twist Thornton would put on the potential love story, but as soon as Bryony came along, I ceased to trust him. I don’t care what his reasons were for lying to the sisters, and I don’t care what Bryony asked him for. Really, Patrick? Seducing sister #2 while she is grief-stricken and still miffed at you because of the whole sister #1 thing? Had I been Catherine, I would have said, “Eff you, buddy,” and pushed him into the stream. I was disappointed that she weakened in the end. I wish the whole business with Bryony and Patrick and his mysterious past had just been left out. It felt unnecessary and artificial and gave a sourish flavor to the parts of the novel that featured it. I’d have preferred a straight-up, predictable love story to the mess that was the Patrick subplot.

Overall, I enjoyed The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton. If you are in the mood for such a book, I think it would do very nicely.

Those are my thoughts. Check out The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton on Goodreads or LibraryThing, or read a plethora of other bloggers’ reviews!

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  • http://wormhole.carnelianvalley.com Charlie

    Pretty much the same as my feelings on the book. Thorton really did bring the place to life, and there was no compulsion to finish the book quickly (though that’s neither good nor bad). Regarding the spoiler, I too found that difficult. I think if it had been brought up, no matter what Catherine chose in the end, it would have been a lot better. I remember talking to Iris about it, I think quite a few people had an issue with it.

  • http://agignac2.blogspot.com Amanda

    In some ways, I wished that there had been nothing between Bryony and Patrick, but in others, it just felt so much more real that there was, that Patrick had given up on Catherine and said why not instead, and the fact that she let him seduce her in her grief made perfect sense to me. Maybe not the smartest decision, but one that was realistic, which is why I liked it. The best thing about Rosy Thorton’s books to me is their realism, in all its not so great glory.

  • http://lostinagoodstory.blogspot.com/ Joanna

    I really want to read this, being an expat myself. I don’t know what your issue was because I didn’t read the spoiler bit but I’m glad you liked it overall. I like a ‘nice’ book once in a while!

  • http://www.ragingbibliomania.net/ zibilee

    I loved this story as well, and would have to describe it as calm and quiet. But I totally get the Patrick thing. I didn’t like him very much either, and thought what he did to the sisters was wrong. I tried not to get caught up in that, and just enjoy the book, but I felt like he was a horndog.

  • http://readhanded.blogspot.com Julie @ Read Handed

    I thought this was a lovely story, too. The Patrick thing did bother me, but mostly because I kept thinking why would Catherine want Patrick’s sloppy seconds anyway? That’s pretty much a deal breaker. Plus, eww. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • http://www.stephandtonyinvestigate.com Steph

    Sometimes all you want is a nice book where you know a happy ending is guaranteed and while there may be drama, it’s all rather gentle in nature. I’ve heard a lot about this book, but reading your review really gave me some good insight into what to expect!

  • http://abookishaffair.blogspot.com/ Meg @ A Bookish Affair

    I really, really enjoyed this book!

  • http://herbookself.blogspot.com lisa :)

    I see where you’re coming from about Patrick, but at the same time his actions made him a much more believable character to me – flawed and more human – and also, as much as I hate to stereotype, much more believably French.

    I read this book earlier this year and I think my favorite aspects of it were the scenery and the tapestries – both described in such exquisite detail. I also ran an interview with Rosy Thornton here if you’re interested in learning more about her and the work!

  • http://bookchatter.net Ti

    Pleasant reads have their place, that’s for sure. I loved Under the Tuscan Sun even though it’s not what I would have normally picked up. If this one is anything like that one, I can certainly see its draw.

  • http://diaryofaneccentric.wordpress.com Anna

    I have a copy of this book that I need to read. I think I’ll pull it out when I’m in the mood for a quiet book.

  • http://www.readinasinglesitting.com Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting

    This sounds like a quiet, relaxing book–but I swear I’ve seen that cover before!

  • http://bookspersonally.com Jennifer, bookspersonally

    Great review! I thought it was a very lovely read too, and agree with you – had a similar quibble about the characters resolving that whole sleeping-with-your-sister thing way too maturely! The setting, though, so very gorgeously written, and absolutely enjoyed it.

  • http://joyfullyretired.com Margot

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I did too. Rosy Thornton is an author that enough people don’t know about. Crossed Wires is another of her novels I really enjoyed.