Rosy Thornton’s book The Tapestry of Love is all around good fun. A light but very well-written book with a happy ending that is not forced and unrealistic. I began reading the book on my commute but switched it to my bedside book last week. It was such pleasant reading before bed, so gentle and soothing. I am sure I owe some dreams and peaceful night’s sleeps to it.
The story is about Catherine Parkstone aged 49. She is divorced and her kids are grown up. She has decided it is finally time to fulfill her own dreams. So she moves to a small town in the Cévennes mountains of France. She buys a little farmhouse called Les Fenils and starts a business as a needlewoman. She creates beautiful tapestries, sews curtains, does upholstery, and even restores a banner cherished by the church in nearby St Julien.
It doesn’t sound like the most exciting of books, but it is not about plot, it’s about people. As one would expect, there is a diverse cast of characters from the handsome and mysterious Patrick Castagnol, to the kind and sensible Bouschets. As a newcomer to the small community everyone knows all about Catherine and she knows nothing about them. At first people are hesitant to welcome her because she is English and because they don’t want to go to all the trouble of befriending her if she isn’t going to stay.
But Catherine stays and she becomes part of the community. And what a wonderful community. The visits exchanged and the food shared, the little gifts given and received between neighbors and friends. And most ideal of all, even though everyone knew everyone else’s business, they weren’t gossips and everyone seemed to be inherently good even the seedy Guillaume has a good heart.
Of course the book isn’t all sunshine and roses. There is sadness and human failing. But in the end, in spite of the bad events, the strength of the community and the bonds of friendship rule the day.
I’d love to live in a place like this but would prefer it to be somewhere other than France. I tried to learn French in college but after a very painful semester I gave up on it. I could perhaps manage German or Spanish but French defeats me. But really, it is probably best for everyone involved if I stick to someplace that speaks English. Some days English is challenging enough! Anyway, read The Tapestry of Love next time you are looking for something to make you feel good.
Thanks to Rosy Thornton for being such a good and consistent writer and for sending me a copy of the book.