Publisher: Headline Publishing
Pub date: 14 October 2010
This is a lovely heartwarming story set in the idyllic Cévennes mountains. Rosy Thornton brings out the reality and romance of living in the French countryside – the solitude and the friendships that form.
A rural idyll: that’s what Catherine is seeking when she sells her house in England and moves to a tiny hamlet in the Cévennes mountains. With her divorce in the past and her children grown, she is free to make a new start, and her dream is to set up in business as a seamstress. But this is a harsh and lonely place when you’re no longer just here on holiday. There is French bureaucracy to contend with, not to mention the mountain weather, and the reserve of her neighbours, including the intriguing Patrick Castagnol. And that’s before the arrival of Catherine’s sister, Bryony…
When I started reading the book, I had very mixed feelings about it. While the writing was lovely and the setting beautiful, nothing was happening! Even though this story is about rural life and the slow pace that goes with it, I felt like the first third of the book was too slow.
But it was magical enough that I wanted to continue reading. In the second and third parts of the story, the pace picks up, the storyline gets fleshed out and things start to happen.
With a story set in France, the delicious descriptions of food and wine are a given. Thornton’s appreciation of food is evident from descriptions of mouth-watering dishes paired with the best of wines and liqueurs.
What I really liked about The Tapestry of Love is that it didn’t focus too much on the romantic love. Of course it is about finding love, but first it is about Catherine finding herself and finding peace in her life and her home.
Catherine is an easy character to like – even-tempered, good-natured and down-to-earth. Apart from her tapestry business, she also keeps busy gardening, cooking and bee-keeping.
Having come far away from all that is familiar, Catherine has to get used to the solitude that comes with living in an out-of-the-way place with neighbors who are few and far between. Her occasional phone conversations with her children is what keeps her connected to her family.
The art of tapestry was another aspect that drew me to this book. Through Catherine’s creations, we come to know a little about the art. I don’t know much about tapestry, so I would have liked to linger a little bit more on the process – the creative aspect, choosing materials and the history of it – all of which is only briefly touched on.
The other characters in the story are rather quirky and interesting. Catherine closest neighbors, the Bouschets start off rather stiff and formal, but soon become her closest friends and support system.
Patrick, the romantic interest, is a memorable character, with his easy charm and air of mystery. I have to say though that I was not convinced with his back-story and his reason for secrecy. I was especially not convinced at the reaction once the secret was discovered. This sounds vague, but I can’t say more without giving away too much of the plot.
On the whole, this was a poignant, heartwarming, leisurely story about life in the French countryside, about growing, accepting and starting over. I did enjoy the writing very much and look forward to reading more books by Rosy Thornton.
Read more about the author and her books: www.rosythornton.com
I received this book as a reviewer for Bookpleasures.com
*See my Rating policy.