Posts Tagged With: rosy thornton

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

This is the story of Catherine Parkstone, a 48 year old woman, who has moved to the French mountains in the search for a new life, and a new business in tapestry and upholstery.  The idyllic lifestyle she had hoped for is a complete change from her life in England – her house is one of only four in a tiny hamlet, which seems cut off from civilisation, and she has to cope with French bureacracy which threatens to stop her business before it’s even begun.  And then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, Patrick Castagnol…

This is the second novel I have read by Rosy Thornton, and I have now resolved to buy the two which I have not yet read.  I love the way that the author creates very believable characters, who I really felt that I got to know.  Rather than creating a stereotypical heroine, Catherine is a very decent if flawed human being – i.e., very true to life.  I enjoyed the relationships she had with her two very different children; nature lover Tom, who is quiet and somewhat reticent; and the vivacious, gregarious Lexie.  Catherine’s sister Bryony was also a great character, if not quite as sympathetic as Catherine herself.

Patrick Castagnol was necessarily slightly harder to work out.  It was easy to understand Catherine’s simultaneous attraction and frustration with him. 

I particularly liked the description of the French mountains and the lifestyle of the residents, and felt that I could really imagine what it was like to stay there (and actually, this book made such a lifestyle seem like a very attractive prospect)!  My favourites were her elderly neighbours, Monsieur and Madame Bouschet – the kind of neighbours one can only hope to have!

Essentially this is a story of ordinary people – but that does not mean that it is in any way boring.  I enjoyed reading about the main character trying to navigate her new landscape and new way of life.  The interplay between the various characters was entirely believable, and the writing flowed easily.  I genuinely found this book hard to put down. 

I would definitely recommend this book (as well as Crossed Wires, the previous novel I read by Rosy Thornton).

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The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

The Tapestry of Love

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. (Amazon.co.uk)

The story is that of a certain type of woman of a certain age, escaping from her former life. With the requisite amicable ex husband, pretty and successful sister and two grownup children in the background, I decided early on that the story would frustrate me as contrived and shallow, something that has been written about and read many times over. I was wrong. My mutterings and misgivings changed as I read on from the scene-setting early chapters. ‘The Tapestry of Love’ is a beautifully crafted book, eloquent and quiet in how it creeps up on you.

Rosy Thornton’s descriptions are vivid in their eloquence, each word and phrase is measured and certain. The story opens slowly, it’s pace making me feel a little hindered at times, being so used to the fast paced thrillers and crime novels of my favoured genre. I ploughed on with it, and before long I appreciated the time taken and the drenching in beautifully crafted paragraphs that I had received.

The movement of rural life and the forging of bonds between the characters is captured with an eye for authenticity. Local folklore and the more universal issues of life, love and death are contained here. Before long the initially perceived insipidness of Catherine our heroine gives way to ardent admiration for her steadfast refusal to be that certain type of woman, of a certain age escaping her former life.

The three parts of this tale take unexpected paths at times, and just when you think that nothing has really been happening you realise that all is somehow different. This is such a vague review in so many ways because reading what does take place is worth getting to without foreknowledge. Just know that this reader thoroughly enjoyed the experience and gave a satisfied sigh as that final page turned.

Posted on behalf of Chrissy Sales

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Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton

Synopsis on the jacket of the book:

This is the story of Mina, a girl at a Sheffield call centre, whose next customer in the queue is Peter, a Cambridge geography don, who has crashed his car into a tree stumo when swerving to avoid a cat.

Despite their obvious differences, they’ve got a lot in common – both single, both parents, both looking for love.  Could it be that they’ve just found it?

Crossed Wires is an old-fashioned fairy tale.  It is about the small joys and tribulations of parenthood; about one-ness and two-ness; about symmetry and coincidence; about the things that separate us and the things that bring us together.

I really enjoyed this novel.  Peter and especially Mina, are very well drawn and believable characters.  Although a lot of the book is about the problems they face in bringing up their respective children, many of the issues are ones which we can all identify with, parents or not.

All of the supporting cast of characters – from Peter’s friends Jeremy, Martin and Trish, to Mina’s mom, stepdad and sister are brought effectively to life, and I found myself really starting to care about them.

The reader gets to see far more of Peter and Mina’s respective lives than they do of each other, and therefore when misunderstandings arise between the two of them, the reader is able to see the truth behind certain events before the characters do.  I  found myself rooting for both Mina and Peter, and groaning when things went awry.  

The book is very well written, and is both an intelligent novel and a real page turner.  I am definitely going to be looking out for more by this author!

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