I kind of put off reading The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (no relation to Maurice). I guess I was expecting either a very girly and weepy fluff book or a dry historical fiction. Luckily it is not quite either – don't get me wrong, it's girly, but in a fun way, a real bodice ripper at times with hysterical lines about “plowing” young maidens. At the same time, it is a historical novel with great living, breathing insight into daily life in 15th century France and Brussels and the processes of commissioned art at the time.
Much of the novel is speculation, in fact much more than I expected, because there is so little information available on the famous tapestry the book tells the tale of. It is a work I have always loved. My parents had a poster of the sight tapestry, represented by a seated maiden showing the unicorn his reflection in a hand mirror. In the book the maiden is the beautiful blind daughter of a famous Brussels weaver and another sexual conquest of the book's fictional artist and ladies man Nicolas des Innocents.
If you are a lover of fun, bawdy Masterpiece Theater stuff, think Moll Flanders and Tom Jones, you'll be thoroughly satisfied with this read. In fact, I really hope they do adapt this into what would surely be one of my favorite miniseries.