THE LADY AND THE UNICORN
Fans of Chevalier's art-based novels and those who love medieval tapestries will be thrilled to read her tale about the origin of the six magnificent tapestries depicting a woman seducing a unicorn that hang in the National Museum of Medieval Arts (the Musée du Cluny) in Paris.
In 1490, nouveau riche merchant Jean Le Viste commissions the charis-matic artist Nicolas des Innocents to design a series of tapestries that will impress the king. Nicholas falls in love with Le Viste's daughter Claude, who wishes to lose her innocence to him. Passion compels him to base the woman in the tapestries on her.
As each character tells part of the story, readers enter a rich, lush world where the historical backdrop is as much a character as the people. Literally weaving their lives into the tapestries, Chevalier creates the world of artist, lover, weaver and social climber. It is intriguing, ingenious and wondrous to read, as each strand is carefully threaded with the next to create a literary masterpiece. (Jan., 256 pp., $23.95)