Celine’s adventures: The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

Celine is a French blogger who writes some fictional reviews about the books she loves the most and they always make me laugh. I hope the humor even if translated is kept. Thanks for her reviews.


Synopsis: A tour de force of history and imagination, The Lady and the Unicorn is Tracy Chevalier’s answer to the mystery behind one of the art world’s great masterpieces—a set of bewitching medieval tapestries that hangs today in the Cluny Museum in Paris. They appear to portray the seduction of a unicorn, but the story behind their making is unknown—until now.Paris, 1490.  A shrewd French nobleman commissions six lavish tapestries celebrating his rising status at Court. He hires the charismatic, arrogant, sublimely talented Nicolas des Innocents to design them. Nicolas creates havoc among the women in the house—mother and daughter, servant, and lady-in-waiting—before taking his designs north to the Brussels workshop where the tapestries are to be woven. There, master weaver Georges de la Chapelle risks everything he has to finish the tapestries—his finest, most intricate work—on time for his exacting French client. The results change all their lives—lives that have been captured in the tapestries, for those who know where to look.

Disclaimer: « The characters and situations in this story are fictional, any resemblance to existing persons and situations can only be coincidental »

For mémo: Episode 1 ; Episode 2 ; Episode 3 ; Episode 4 ; Episode 5 ; Episode 6 ; Episode 7 ; Episode 8 ; Episode 9 ; Episode 10 ; Episode 11 ; Episode 12 ; Episode 13 ; Episode 14 ; Episode 15 ; Episode 16 ; Episode 17


Salon du Livre, Paris

A strange light escapes from a slab of this hall where the crowd agglutinates against the closed doors. First tiny, thin, about the size of a pinhead, it grew and grew, yet it grows to finally gain the whole contour of the slab.
I instinctively take a few steps back, Le Chat, Melliane and Johanne do the same.

– Uh, what’s that? Le Chat asks by adopting the Krav Maga guard position.
– That is the trouble, I can not help but respond by frowning until I feel in my flesh the worry wrinkles which bars my forehead.

A low rumble that accompanies the light became so blinding that we use our hands to protect our eyes.
– Very big trouble, Melliane groans, her hair disheveled because of the surrounding chaos.

The ground shakes more violently now around us. Cries rise from the panicked crowd running aimlessly through the room. Presentation tables crash against the ground in a tremendous burst, but it’s nothing compared to the noise that comes from the slab.

We still backwards a step, then another.

The slab shakes harder, and suddenly rises abruptly to explode in the air in a fine dust we do not see falling.

Like a genie out of a lamp, a first striking silhouette, followed by a second and a third rush into the freed space.

– Very, very big trouble, Johanne whispers while blowing on the lock of hair falling over her eyes.
– Livre-vie, Le Chat, Melliane, Johanne, you again! A cavernous voice tons.

The three luminous silhouettes are lined up in perfect order before us. The shadow of what they are still makes us take a step back. We seem so tiny next to them. Melliane puts her arm under mine, and I do the same with Le Chat’s, who grabbed Johanne’s. Our human chain seems a very thin wall facing them.

– Uh, hello! Le Chat says, accompanying her words with a small engaging smile.
I glare at her, this is not the time to make friends with the enemy.
– You’re worse than a thorn in the side of a horse, it has to stop, a second voice roars just as hollow.

Their face is blurred, like a blurred image of a television screen and even if I can not distinguish which of the three just spoke, I have no trouble imagining their expression at that moment: frowning , pursed lips, they are not happy at all. That’s an understatement, they are furious … And they do not stop growing, as the Beanstalk Jack. We must recognize that their entry is successful, even sensational. I hesitate to ask them what their thing is, but the third cut to the root of any desire to dialogue.
– Yes, it has to stop! he barks raising his hand angrily, amplifying the shaking of the hall.

We don’t need more. With an agility worthy of the best spies, all we soar back.
– We must get out of there! Johanne screams.
I can only shake of the head in silence, I try to recover my equilibrium undermined by my maneuver. Finally, my agility is not worthy of a spy, and I almost lost my bag, my precious bag containing all the books to save.

Le Chat jumps over a table in her tracks, projecting a novel that ends its flight in my arms.

Deuce, the Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier!

With a quick and steady hand, I tote my book bag to save it, and start to run while bellowing:
– We need to fight my friends and to penetrate them of our blades!

My words of motivation do not have the desired effect. Le Chat, Johanne and Melliane stop, and Rohanne, which was hidden under a table, her head out and says:
– Has she lost her mind? ”
– Not at all! Give me a crossbow, so we can fight!
– That’s it, you’re damned! Le Chat sighs avoiding a chair from a pool of movement.

The Lady and the Unicorn is horehound in my bag. This little gem is so realistic that it weaves the history of these famous hangings of the fifteenth century. Served by a language and manners that immerse us completely in the century to the dawn of the Renaissance, courtly love (and not so courteous!). History continues by retracing the steps of the development of these famous hangings. Scrolling the adventures of Nicolas de Innocents (not so innocent as that!), And various male and female characters that will cross his path. The alternating narration according to the perspective of different characters give a richness and authenticity to the story such that I felt I was back in time to finally realize that the Unicorn was not necessarily what I thought (and I still blush elsewhere…).

I jump over a table and grab one of the advertising signs. The metal rod which serves as a foot will be a lethal weapon. Finally, I hope.

– My friends, I think we will win and make them capitulate!
– She speaks of the Gods there? Melliane requires, dismayed, picking the books like she would pluck apples. Her bag may crack at any moment.
– We can not run away! Plague of the Gods! Come to me!
The girls stop and look at me apologetically.
– She is fucked up, everything is done … Johanne sobs while throwing a pack of tissues.
– I told you that that I had to take a glutton … It would have cleaned everything and shoo … Le Chat growls as she draws her pepper spray.
– Or an elephant to open the door! It would have been handy! Melliane adds by getting rid of her makeup bag that opens into the contact with the chest of one of the gods.
Its contents spread on the floor, and I see some nail varnish stains on the pristine garment of the divinity. My girlfriends aim well …
– And where would have I put it? In your bag? Le Chat chuckles stepping forward spray in hand.
– You see that I’m making room! Melliane retorts a hairbrush launched on the same God.
She puts on target again, and the God drafts cringe. Le Chat takes the opportunity to pull the trigger and pepper cloud covers the shiny silhouette that begins to sneeze.

We 1 / Gods: 0

An intense gleam materializes before me, and I wave my sign in renewed fury. There is no question that our struggle ends here. The Lady and the Unicorn is worth saving. I’m attached to the characters, and the end is a nice lesson in life. No, it’s out of the question.

A second light appears at her side. The gods seem even bigger.

– When I say that the books are harmful to health. Here is one good example! one of them exclaims, visibly perplexed.
– We’ll have to put it in solitary confinement in the dungeon, it could be contagious, the other says.
– Should we take the risk? Le Donjon is well hidden, but not isolated. The risk is a pandemic!

I think of piercing him with my sword. Perhaps the surprise would be there and I could get rid of one of them. One less, it would always be that … But my sword seems to be a needle facing a God. For cons, I will, and as they say, “To valiant heart, nothing is impossible”. I take a deep breath, ready to launch. A little voice in my left breaks my train of thought.

– Girls, oh, oh, girls …
This is Roanne.

She is frantically hopping, clapping her hands before a huge poster advertising the show, one of those modern tapestries that adorn the walls of the hall.
“There’s an outlet, there behind! ”

All my ambitions to slay a God suddenly disappear. We will have more fights. The leak is not really a defeat, our bags are heavy books we’ve already saved. Sometimes you have to withdraw. So I follow my friends in a much less elegant style, however, I run screaming toward the exit to prevent the crowd from this saving outcome.

We will surely eat well after such a fight …

11 thoughts on “Celine’s adventures: The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

  1. A book that has been on my TBR mountain for what seems like forever. Having read this perhaps I’ll actually get around to reading it now.

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