The Bruges Tapestry by P.A. Staes
review copy provided by author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Following a 500-year-old mystery concerning a Flemish tapestry is routine work for Detective Claire DeMaer, since she’s employed by the Newport Beach Art Theft Detail. But, unlike past cases, this one involves arresting Paolo Campezzi, lover to her best friend Nora. Mr. Campezzi is a distant descendant of a Florentine Duke, who commissioned the tapestry in 1520 in Bruges, Belgium.
Claire finds that she must explore the true provenance of the tapestry, free Mr. Campezzi in order to re-establish her friendship with Nora and depend on the expertise of a textile expert she doesn’t know. All this must occur in 72 hours, before the Vatican takes the tapestry back.
But Claire isn’t the only one with the Vatican looking over her shoulder. Claire’s story intertwines with a 1520 diary by Beatrice van Hecke, the tapestry-weaver’s daughter. Only Claire can discover the secret that is woven in time.
The Bruges Tapestry by P.A. Staes is a beautiful little book. I say beautiful because the cover is absolutely gorgeous and little because it is fairly short at 246 pages including explanatory notes and resources at then end. The story line flowed very quickly and I finished reading it in a day.
Beatrice's story takes place in the early 1500's and these were probably the most engaging chapters of the book, for me. The "Prologue: 1520 Bruges, Belgium" sets the tone of these chapters. There is immediate tension and anticipation of the revelations to come. Beatrice is a sympathetic character as is her poor sister, Marie; both are victims of lecherous old men. I couldn't stop turning pages even though I knew bad things were in store for them. There is also lots of interesting information about just how powerful the Church was during this period and about the day to day life of people.
I really enjoyed all the details given about the manufacturing of the tapestries. There is a lot of important information relayed without getting bogged down. I also have to note that I really loved the font used in these chapters. It has a slightly archaic look to it and does add to the general atmosphere of these chapters.
The modern day chapters involving Claire were a bit more uneven for me. I thought Claire's career was very interesting and I would have enjoyed more details about how that job works, exactly. The story starts off at a good pace and I was very involved, but as the story progresses, I had some issues. I thought the premise was good, but some of the coincidences seemed almost too much. I thought the resolution was a bit rushed. I wanted more detail explaining why Claire's grandmother just happened to speak and read Flemish; just throwing it in there seemed too coincidental. There were also a couple of continuity issues as well.
Despite these few problems, I thought the premise was great and I would like to read more about Claire and learn more about her job and her family history. I'm pretty sure there has to be a great story there. Why did her family move the United States? When did they move? Her grandmother still speaks Flemish, so it can't have been that long ago. I also wanted to learn more about Beatrice. There is a brief, vague explanation of what happened to her, but I want to know more.
If you like historical fiction about women and are at all interested in tapestries and their making, this is a book you might enjoy. After reading this book, I have noticed that Bruges and the tapestries made there are mentioned fairly often in historical fiction about the 1500's. This book has made me much more aware of the area and given me a better appreciation of tapestries.
Virtual Book Tour ScheduleMonday, March 18
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, March 19
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, March 20
Review at Turning the Pages
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise
Thursday, March 21
Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook
Friday, March 22
Review at A Book Geek
Monday, March 25
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, March 26
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, March 27
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Thursday, March 28
Review at The Book Garden
Interview at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, March 29
Guest Post & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, April 3
Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, April 4
Review at Book of Secrets
Review & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Friday, April 5
Review at Broken Teepee