The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

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The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A mature and independent woman moves to a tiny French hamlet to start a business and falls in love with the way of life and the countryside. A realistic and thought-provoking read with a lead character you'll remember. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Headline Review
ISBN: 978-0755345564

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Catherine Parkstone has sold her home in England and moved, lock, stock and tomato plants, to a tiny hamlet in the Cevennes mountains in France's Massif Central. It's eight years since her divorce and her children are now grown and (reasonably) independent, so it's time for her to do what pleases her. Her aim is to set up a sewing business in the hamlet – doing upholstery, soft furnishings and tapestry – but she has to come to terms with the extremes of the weather, French bureaucracy and the understandable reserve of her neighbours who are not keen to see more tourism taking over the area. It's not long before Catherine falls in love – with the landscape and a way of life.

If you're thinking A Year in Provence then forget it. This is not a story of the wonderful English moving to France and having to deal with the comedy French and their rather antiquated and inefficient ways. This is the story of an independent woman well into her fifth decade who develops relationships with those around her. For the most part they're older people and there's a sensitive picture of the decline of rural life as young people move away. What, after all, is there for them to do? How are they to earn a living? It's a very fragile way of living, brought to life in muted colours.

It is, though, mutually supportive and Catherine comes to appreciate her neighbour (well, they're only a short hike apart), Patrick Castagnol. Even her son likes him although he does point out that he's probably too smooth for his own good. Catherine doesn't see a great deal of her family, but she's happy with her own company for most of the time and certainly finds life more upsetting when her sister Bryony comes to stay. Catherine is attracted to Patrick but Bryony is rather more direct in her approach.

This isn't a story of sibling rivalry though. It's a story of a mature and independent woman making the most of her life. She has a great talent with a needle and an obvious love of what she's doing. She's quite a gardener too and wants to make as much of the land around her as she can. Catherine is a wonderful character and well written. She stayed with after I finished the book (that's always the test of a really good character…) and as I was gardening yesterday I idly wondered who I could ask about why I'd lost a couple of alpine strawberry plants. Catherine, I though. Catherine would know.

A Year in Provence tempted a lot of people to move to the area and is credited by some with the start of the tourist boom which ruined the region for those who lived there. The Tapestry of Love will not do the same to the Cevennes. The beauty is there and the grandeur of the landscape but there's realism in the picture and it's definitely not been done for laughs.

You might have guessed by now that I really enjoyed the book and I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag. If this book appeals to you then you'll definitely enjoy one of her earlier books Hearts and Minds. She's also written two other books which make for a lighter but still very satisfying read – More Than Love Letters and Crossed Wires.

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Buy The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton at


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