The Tapestry of Love

Thoughts    The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton, Headline Review 2010, 406 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:   I had been wanting to read Ms. Thornton’s Hearts and Minds (still do – will probably download to the iPad) and had made it one of the top 3 books I absolutely must read this year and somehow, the author found out. She offered to send me The Tapestry of Love and I just couldn’t turn down her very kind offer. I didn’t get to it right away but was was recently reminded* that I have quite a few author-sent books** that should be read as soon as possible. I scooped this off the shelf and began.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:   A divorced mother of two grown children decides to move to France and start a tapestry business.  She meets the neighbors, enjoys the seasons and wonders if France is too bureaucratic. OK, before you tell yourself that this sounds really boring, let me assure you it is not boring.  It is NICE. Catherine is just very likable. She’s ‘capable’***;  sensible but not perfect.  The author is skilled at describing everything without it feeling like you are reading descriptions of everything. This book was probably the right book at the right moment.  The setting was completely gorgeous and won me over.

Not having any clue how to pronounce French words and not quite getting all the enamored-ness with everything French (even though my BFF is married to a guy from Marseille), I admit I was not that enthusiastic at the outset. I am not interested in French things in the least. I’ve been to Paris. Cross it off the list; I have many other European cities I prefer to visit. The beer I ordered in Paris came with a shot of cherry syrup or something. It was gross.  I know NOW that I was supposed to order wine not beer in France but that is water under the bridge. I read this entirely because I really REALLY wanted to read something by Thornton because she is so highly praised – and now I know why. She’s that good.

Luckily, she didn’t include so many French words and phrases that I was put off.   In fact, I am now quite eager to learn more French cooking. Take that back – I am more motivated to push my husband to cook more in the French style.  He’s the chef in the family. I turned down many pages of food descriptions!

p.134 SALSIFY – an edible European plant of the daisy family, with a long root like that of a parsnip.
p.150 GAUCHERIE – awkward, embarassing, or unsophisticated ways.
p.170 GAINSAID – formal deny or contradict (a fact or statement) • speak against or oppose (someone)


p.227 “Sage was his favourite. He liked me to cook a loin of pork, when we had killed a pig, simmered slowly with sage and lemon and milk.  The lemon sets the milk to curdle and thicken, until it’s sweeter than cream.”    (bring it on – I want to taste this!)

p.246 “He had no dog, it unexpectedly occurred to her.  They all had dogs, all the men here, even Guillaume.  Especially Guillaume. Patrick went shooting but he went alone.  She should have known there was something not quite right about a woodsman without a dog; something unreliable, something impermanent.  He ought to have had a dog”.  (hear, hear.)

p.268 “There were times when she wondered whether she might be going just a little mad – whether she was spending too much time by herself.  Perhaps the sun was addling her brain. These extremes of detachment could not be normal, surely. And yet it didn’t feel like detachment , but rather like a closer form of engagement.  It was like looking at a painting or a tapestry and abandoning yourself to the detail of colour and shape.  Maybe she wasn’t losing touch with the world at all; in fact, maybe she was more properly in touch with it than she had been before.”  (another hear, hear)

RATING:   Five slices of pie. Plum pie. Plum torte, more like it which is fine.

Jenny’s Books  –> she links to Litlove’s (I adore LitLove.)  Honestly, Jenny links to many reviews so you can be assured that she has done her good blogging linky-love duty.   TrulySomeMore, Jenny’s review had me bobbing my head in agreement the whole post-through.

Jeanne’s lovely lovely review:   HERE
Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit – where I saw Rhapsody-Jill comment that Emotional Geology is GOOD which makes me happy.
Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search for this title.

Author with her dog


* The reminder was another author offering to send me her book and I just had to say no.  I have too many!
** I have Karen Harrington’s Janeology and Linda Gillard’s Emotional Geology – a giveaway prize.
*** The accusation, this unsexy accusation!!  is something the love-interest-dude suggested.


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31 thoughts on “The Tapestry of Love

  1. I’m glad you liked this one, despite it being Frenchy. 😀 I’m one of those people who adore France, but that’s probably because I speak the language and lived in Bourges for six weeks. Paris is NOT my favorite. Though I know the drink you’re talking about and it’s the only way I can drink beer. I believe it has grenadine in it. I can’t remember the name of it offhand but a friend of mine ordered a lot of them when we lived in france and I have it written down in my journal from that time…

    1. You are justified in being a Francophile. 🙂
      I have toyed with the idea of taking a class just to know how to pronounce the language – not to really learn to speak it, only READ it!

  2. I thought the writing in this was good but I thought the story was all over the place, not focused enough — and there was far too much about the daughter and her job, which seemed pointless.

    For me, the best parts of this book were about the main character (forgotten her name already) and her neighbors. It seemed like a love letter to the Cevennes, not a love story between two people. See — I remember the word Cevennes, better than the names of any of the characters!

    1. Yes, I see your issues. I do think this was definitely one book that was just perfect for where I was and what mood I was in. You are right that the romance was for that part of France and she almost had me wanting to visit! But more to eat the food, I think.

  3. This one was a little slow for me, but I have been jaded by reading too many thriller/action books! I think Thornton is a lovely writer and certainly am eager to read any other books she comes out with!

    1. Jill, I don’t know why I don’t reach for more thrillers. I usually enjoy them while reading but they are not my go-to fiction.
      Thank you for sparking more interest in reading the Gillard book!

    1. Yes, it was another author who was asking if I would like a copy of her new book when I realized that I’d said yes to a few other authors and so it just didn’t seem like a good idea to say yes. What it did, was remind me to read the books I did say yes to who-knows-how-long-ago. I have two more, I think and I can have this little mini-challenge complete.
      oh, and yes, this one is beautiful.

  4. I think “Briony” is an excellent name too! I would almost consider naming a kid that, except I feel that would doom her to a lifetime of mispronunciation and people not knowing before they met her whether she was a girl or a boy (this appalls me because of this girl my mother knew in college, named some androgynous name, who got PUT IN A BOYS’ DORM ROOM and then when she got to college, poor baby, she had to go sleep at the dean’s house).

    Your praise of Past Jenny’s linky-love due diligence is a reproach to Present Jenny who has become totally lazy about doing that. :/

    1. Briony might be considered a boy’s name?

      I know a college frosh that this happened to THIS year here in Boston! The girl was quite stressed about it – I would think there is a checkbox on the form – but maybe that’s not PC. Her name is Devon but not sure how to spell it how she spells it.

  5. I went digging for my copy of this book when I saw your rating and I can’t find it!! I’m sure it’ll show up soon, though.

    About The Call — no, no, heavens no. No need to replace. I’d just seen “loaned by a friend” in your categories and thought, “Oh, good, she remembered,” then was caught off-guard when I saw your giveaway on a return visit. No biggie. I’ve got plenty of other books to foist on my daughter-in-law. It is *super* cool to have a DIL who is also an avid reader, I’ve gotta tell ya. 🙂

      1. Silly girl, you don’t owe me a thing. You are all kinds of awesome and I’m lucky to call you my friend. I suggest you get amnesia about it; I shouldn’t have said anything!!! BTW, I would be happy to sample your hubby’s attempts at French cooking. 😉

  6. Just like Anna, I have had this book for a while! I am currently very French focused and have been for the last few months! Need to read it soon.

  7. Oh, I loved this one, too! I enjoyed reading your review, as it reminded me of how much I did enjoy it. And the word “salsify” sounds like what my friend does to her eggs – she adds salsa. 🙂

  8. I read (and reviewed, a while back) this one simply because the author responded to my lackluster review of one of her earlier novels by offering to send me this one. I mean, really, how gracious!

    We had a college professor named Marion Francis Christie, a large man with a bushy beard. When he got to college, he found he had been put in the girl’s dorm, and the way he told the story, he offered to stay.

    Any book about France makes me hungry. And I love France because it’s the one place on earth everyone can spell my name.

  9. Salsify? I’m sorry, that totally means “to turn into salsa.”

    I have a copy of this that I am supposed to have read by now, also. I think I’ll enjoy it, since several people whose opinions I trust have liked it. I think I might pick it up during the upcoming readathon.

    1. Oh no, you’re not! I have found a couple lukewarm responses and I even agree with some of the issues others have cited. But it was perfect for me at the time I read it and I stand by my 5 slice rating. and that isn’t an argument – you are certainly allowed to have your opinion. 🙂
      How’s Bali, btw?

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