Review: The Tapestry of Love, Rosy Thornton

Sometimes there is just a pleasing confluence of events. Litlove reviewed The Tapestry of Love a few weeks ago, and I thought it didn’t sound like the kind of thing I normally read at all, but that didn’t necessarily mean I wouldn’t like it / shouldn’t try it. So when the author emailed me to ask if I wanted to review it, of course I said yes.

The Tapestry of Love is all about a divorced woman called Catherine Parkstone who decides to move to rural France and set up shop there as a decorator and seamstress. As you do. Back in England, she has a mother with Alzheimer’s, a daughter trying to find a steady job in journalism, a son who does something very advanced and sciencey, and a flaky sister with a high-powered career. It truly is not the sort of book I would typically pick up, as I am bad at crafts, find Alzheimer’s upsetting, and would die of boredom in rural France after about three days of no internet.

What made it work for me was Rosy Thornton’s writing, which is elegant and evocative and elliptical. Except not elliptical. I just wanted another e-adjective, and “eccentric” didn’t work for me. The book is far less about Catherine’s romance with her dark and handsome neighbor (I can’t be bothered with dark and handsome neighbors who kill their own food, although of course I wouldn’t mind someone making me blood sausage), and more about her romance with the south of France. Thornton makes even me, a girl who cannot be bothered with nature except in very very small doses, want to go live in the south of France and see deer and wild boars. Plus, she describes the food that everyone eats, and I love reading about what people are eating.

My biggest objection was that I wanted to hear more about the tapestries! Catherine makes tapestries and upholstery, and that’s what she wants to do for a job in France, and I loved reading about how she came up with her ideas for tapestries and then started making them. As one of the least craft-oriented people in the world, I think it is marvelous when people can make things with their hands, and I want to hear all about it. What are all the kinds of threads? How does Catherine go about restoring the church tapestry? I wanted to know because there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that I will ever become a tapestry restorer. If the books don’t tell me how restoring tapestries works, I will never know.

So basically, considering that The Tapestry of Love is not at all my type of book really, I enjoyed it a lot and was pleased to have read it. Once again I have you bloggy people to thank for making me expand my bookish horizons. And of course thank you to Rosy Thornton for sending it to me! (FTC, take note.)

Other folks that read this:

Tales from the Reading Room (thanks for the recommendation!)
Iris on Books
Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover
Vulpes Libris
Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Tell me if I missed yours!