Did you read The Lady and the Unicorn?
I first read this book about 6 years ago. When I re-read it this spring, I was delighted to find that it was even better than I remembered. For some reason, this book’s fast pacing, high stakes, and real-life emotion really does it for me.
My take on The Lady and the Unicorn
I was really struck by how well constructed all the characters and their relationships are. I was especially intrigued by Geneviève’s storyline.
Geneviève is the noblewoman who dreams of becoming a nun. It’s her only desire. Geneviève sends her daughter, Claude, to a convent against her will. As Claude adjusts to her new home, she questions her mother’s understanding.
“Maman thinks convent life is much like her visits here, when the Abbess pampers her, preparing lavish dishes from food the convent would normally sell at market. I expect there is a lovely room for her to stay in too, full of cushions …There are no cushions on my seat, no tapestries to warm the walls … All this I had worked out for myself after only four days at the convent.“
Claude’s observation fascinated me. I didn’t know which character to trust. It pains me to think that Geneviève’s all-consuming dream might be a fantasy, or a mistake.
Or maybe Geneviève does understand convent life, and Claude is just thinking the worst of her mother. If that’s true, Geneviève has willingly sent her daughter to a very harsh place. Neither option speaks well of Geneviève, but then, she doesn’t have a lot of options to choose from!
Of course, Tracy Chevalier doesn’t explain. It’s just one of the book’s many unanswered questions.
So tell us…
- Who was your favorite character?
- What did you think of Nicholas and Claude’s relationship?
- What did you like the most about the book?
- Were you surprised by the ending?