Review of “Tapestry of Love” by Rosy Thornton

Forty-eight year old divorcee Catherine Parkstone sells her house in England and moves to a very isolated spot in the middle of a national park in the Cévennes mountains in France. Her plan is to work on tapestries and other needlework and perhaps open a business for those who need drapes, upholstery, curtains and the like.

Catherine becomes friends with her neighbors, including a reclusive and fascinating man that speaks perfect English, Patrick Castagnol. She finds herself attracted to him, but puts all that aside when her younger sister Bryony comes to visit and has an affair with him. [Thinking also of the infamous Briony of Atonement, I’m starting to get the idea that it’s not such a great idea in the U.K. to have a younger sister by that name.]

The sororal interregnum aside, there is never any doubt what the outcome of this book will be. And while we wait for the inevitable, Thornton shares her love affair with us of the Cévennes, in all of its manifestations in each season and each change of light, and of her desire to capture its beauty in her art:

“Over the last few weeks, since perhaps the middle of April, Catherine had watched the mountain pastures explode with life. This was turf which had never known the application of a chemical, and although there were grasses here, they were no more than a canvas on which were splashed a profusion of other colours: purple scabious and yellow gentian and lungwort speckled blue and pink, and many other wild flowers which Catherine could not identify. And butterflies: the whole surface of the pasture in the afternoon sunshine danced and bobbed with butterflies, white and yellow and brown, and tiny ones of a startling blue. Catherine half closed her eyelids and saw it in silks.”

There are many such descriptions of the surroundings in this book.

Wood Anemones  and Wild Daffodils  in Cevennes, France.

Wood Anemones and Wild Daffodils in Cevennes, France.

Evaluation: Like her previous book, Crossed Wires, there are suggestions of “Sleepless in Seattle,” but this book is not only about a love affair with a person; it is also – and perhaps more so – about the love the character develops for the setting, and the simple, sincere, and good-hearted souls who populate the small mountain area. When she first arrives, one of the residents looks at her and says, “You’re not from here.” By the end of the book, she has become barely distinguishable from the others. The tapestry she weaves of the view she sees out her window is truly a tapestry of love.

Rating: 3/5

Published by Headline Review, 2010


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17 Responses to Review of “Tapestry of Love” by Rosy Thornton

  1. Sandy says:

    I have fantasies about doing something like this…

  2. Barbara says:

    I love needlework and this sounds delightful, although I think I’m glad I don’t have a sister to ruin things. 😀

  3. Amanda says:

    I’m so looking forward to reading this!

  4. Jenny says:

    What is with life-spoiling sisters called Bryony? I actually think it’s a really pretty name, but it has bad associations now.

  5. Margot says:

    I actually loved this book. It felt like I was on an extended visit to this area of France. I was captivated by the needlework as well. Sorry it didn’t work as well for you.

  6. Jenners says:

    That is weird about the Briony thing.

  7. bermudaonion says:

    I love Sleepless in Seattle, so this sounds like a book I would love. What a great cover!

  8. Staci says:

    This one sounds right up my alley!!!

  9. Sue Roebuck says:

    I’m reading this book and I definitely give it a huge recommendation. It’s one of those books you don’t want to put down because you “live” Catherine. She’s a likable character and the Rosy describes her surroundings in such detail that you feel like you’re there.

    Get it, definitely.

  10. Frances says:

    Have made a note to watch out for younger sisters named Briony/Bryony. Enjoy the occasional escape into another setting novel where the setting absorbs the character into another frame of mind. Revealing an ability for independence and comfort with self that was previously missing. Sounds as if she has woven herself into her own tapestry here.

  11. Kelly K says:

    ooooh! another book for me! * feels lucky today* Haha! found several books for me to buy!

  12. zibilee says:

    I am going to be reading this one soon, and have been reading pretty good things about it. I really like the inclusion of the bits about the tapestries. I will have to let you know what I think of it when I am done!

  13. Alyce says:

    This looks like something that I would have loved a few years ago, but is probably not the right book for me now. I’m always amazed at how my reading tastes have changed over the years and how I go through reading binges of certain kinds of books or topics.

  14. Belle says:

    This sounds like a beautiful read. I really like novels where place is significant, as much a character as any real character.

  15. Meg says:

    I really enjoyed Crossed Wires and am so looking forward to starting this one! The location alone has me intrigued.

  16. Pingback: The Tapestry of Love, by Rosy Thornton « The Zen Leaf

  17. Pingback: The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton « The Sleepless Reader

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