by Rosy Thornton
TBR list; after seeing it on several blogs (quite a few of which are mentioned below) it looked interesting. And someone let the author know I was interested in reading her book, because she emailed me and offered a copy! That doesn't happen to me too often (more frequently I'm solicited for review copies of books that fit in genres I rarely ever approach- why is that?) so I happily accepted. The Tapestry of Love has been my constant nursing companion this past week as I tend to the baby, and it was quite a delightful read.
It's the story of an older woman whose children are grown and is now on her own, having gone through a rather amicable divorce years past. Catherine is ready to live her dreams so she moves to southern France where she purchases a small farmhouse in a mountainside village. The story is all about how she learns to love her new home. (Although there is a romance later in the story, it's more about her falling in love with a place and a community, I felt). There are quite a few things to get used to- the house doesn't have all modern conveniences, and her phone and electricity lines regularly fail. The neighbors are rather reserved and formal, but turn out to be staunch friends and quite interesting characters themselves. Village life is quiet, the mountain trails offer nature-viewing galore (including glimpses of wild boar) and it is all rather peaceful. Except, of course, life is never that peaceful. Catherine struggles to set up a business doing upholstery and needlework- she finds plenty of customers but has difficulty with the French bureaucracy getting permits and stuff to make her business legit. One of her neighbors is an attractive man who it seems might become a good friend, but when her sister comes to visit things get complicated.... Not only is Catherine navigating the ups and downs of her new life, but her ties to England and the past are constantly there too- her children on the phone discussing their own struggles with careers and relationships, her mother in a home going through the final stages of Alzheimer's. As she becomes closer to her neighbors she gets involved in their small griefs and joys as well, so when in the end she has to make a choice about returning to live in England or staying in France she finds it harder than she first imagined, having started to set down roots in her new place... oh dear am I saying too much now? I'd better just let you read the book!
What I really liked about this novel was that it felt very much like real life- no huge drama but a lot of little choices, tough decisions, growing relationships... It was such a charming, touching book. I haven't read one like it in quite some time. I think I'd like to read more by this author. Any suggestions what I should try next?
Rating: 3/5 ........ 406 pages, 2010
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