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The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
In The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring) returns with another novel of historical fiction, this time centering around a tapestry. Nicolas des Innocents is a Parisian artist and ladies man who is commissioned by a rich nobleman, Jean Le Viste, to design tapestries depicting him in heroic battles. Nicolas convinces him to let the tapestries depict a unicorn which can only be tamed by a chaste woman. Traveling between Paris and Brussels, Nicolas directs his libidinous appetites toward three young women, including Le Viste's daughter. Tracy Chevalier has again captured the characters and nuances of the past in her fictionalized account of the creation of a work of art. The Age calls The Lady and the Unicorn, "a novel so graceful in its confidence and economy, so effortlessly readable, that some churls will probably dismiss its American author as a lightweight. That would be to mistake deftness for lack of depth."