Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Historical Fiction Book Tours Book Review: The Bruges Tapestry

Publication Date: August 29, 2012
Paperback; 254p
ISBN-10: 1478155582

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.

Review: As a practicing Catholic, I probably shouldn't have read this book. The author obviously has a deep dislike for the Roman Catholic Church. However I kept on reading, but I have to say that disturbed me and it really detracted from the story she was trying to tell.

The story is told from two perspectives, Claire's in the present day and Beatrice's in the 1500's. I can't say I connected much with Claire and I really didn't connect with her friend Nora, but I did love the characters from the 1500s. Claire just was a bit too snarky for my taste at times.

When Claire sees the tapestry in Paolo's house, she knows it is the one that appeared on the Interpol site. I had a hard time with Nora's, you have to believe my lover didn't steal this because he's "the one" sort of thing. 

There is a thing called protocol, because someone is your friend doesn't mean their boyfriend can be above the law. (Just as the church shouldn't)

What I really enjoyed about this book was Beatrice's story which is really the story of how the tapestry came to be. It was full of intrigue and was truly heartbreaking as the corrupt priests worked to cover up what had happened to her sister Marie. I was glad we did get to see what happened to Beatrice and the Duke after the events that lead the tapestry to land in the Vatican's hands to be told. 

It was a time when the Medici's had control of the Catholic Church and was really a period of great corruption, so the story is very believable from the time period. P.A. Staes really did her research well.

This is the first book in the Claire DeMaere series, and I definitely will read more if the mysteries don't end up having religious ties.

Rating: 4 flowers

About the Author

P.A. Staes is the author of The Bruges Tapestry; the first of the Claire DeMaere series of historical mysteries. To lend veracity to The Bruges Tapestry Ms. Staes traveled to Stirling Castle in Scotland, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Cluny Museum and Gobelin Factory in Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters to bring alive the rich and romantic world of tapestry.   Ms. Staes lives in Southern California with her husband and two dogs.
For more information, please visit P.A. Staes's WEBSITE and BLOG.


Book of Secrets said...

I'm glad you liked it. I'm reading it now.

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