Author: Rosy Thornton

Publisher: Headline Publishing

ISBN: 9780755345564

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This is a lovely, heartwarming story set in the idyllic Cévennes mountains. Rosy Thornton brings out the reality and romance of living in the French countryside - the solitude and the friendships that take shape.

Catherine Parkstone has sold her house in England to move to a tiny hamlet in the Cévennes mountains, looking for afresh start and rural idyll. Having gotten over her divorce, she is free to follow her dream and set up her tapestry business. Far away from her home and family, Catherine has to get used to the solitude and loneliness. And starting a business when there is French bureaucracy to deal with is far from easy. She also has to make peace with the mountain weather, the reserve of her neighbours, including the intriguing Patrick Castagnol. Then her sister Bryony comes to visit, complicating matters further.

When I started reading the book, I had very mixed feelings about it. While the writing was lovely and the setting beautiful, nothing was happening! Even though this story is about rural life and the slow pace that goes with it, I felt like the first third of the book was too slow.

But it was magical enough that I wanted to continue reading. In the second and third parts of the story, the pace picks up, the storyline gets fleshed out and things start to happen.

With a story set in France, the delicious descriptions of food and wine are a given. Thornton's appreciation of food is evident from descriptions of mouth-watering dishes paired with the best of wines and liqueurs.

What I really liked about The Tapestry of Love is that it didn't focus too much on the romantic love. Of course it is about finding love, but first it is about Catherine finding herself and finding peace in her life and her home.

Catherine is an easy character to like - even-tempered, good-natured and down-to-earth. Apart from her tapestry business, she also keeps busy gardening, cooking and bee-keeping.

Having come far away from all that is familiar, Catherine has to get used to the solitude that comes with living in an out-of-the-way place with neighbors who are few and far between. Her occasional phone conversations with her children is what keeps her connected to her family.

The art of tapestry was another aspect that drew me to this book. Through Catherine's creations, we come to know a little about the art. I don't know much about tapestry, so I would have liked to linger a little bit more on the process – the creative aspect, choosing materials and the history of it - all of which is only briefly touched on.

The other characters in the story are rather quirky and interesting. Catherine closest neighbors, the Bouschets start off rather stiff and formal, but soon become her closest friends and support system.

Patrick, the romantic interest, is a memorable character, with his easy charm and air of mystery. I have to say though that I was not convinced with his backstory and his reason for secrecy. I was especially not convinced at the reaction once the secret was discovered. This sounds vague, but I can't say more without giving away too much of the plot.

On the whole, this was a poignant, heartwarming, leisurely story about life in the French countryside, about growing, accepting and starting over. I did enjoy the writing very much and look forward to reading more books by Rosy Thornton.

Click Here To Purchase The Tapestry of Love