The Bruges Tapestry by P.A. Staes
Published by CreateSpace
Published on August 29, 2012
I received this book from Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I found The Bruges Tapestry to be a very engaging story from the very beginning. I loved the story of the tapestry; however, I wish the book focused more on the tapestry rather than the other subplots. The tapestry's story makes a wonderful story all in itself.
The story begins in 1544 with a very distraught girl named Beatrice, the daughter of a tapestry maker. Her story is heartbreaking and it reeks of the abuses of the Catholic Church. To me, Beatrice should have been the main character of this book. She is such a strong young girl for her time and faced tremendous horrors. I wanted to read more about her life. Her story ended much too abruptly.
Next, we meet Claire who I'm not too crazy about. She is an art theft detective in present day. She investigates the alleged (yes, I'm an attorney) theft of the tapestry. I really enjoyed the mystery surrounding the tapestry. Her unraveling of the tapestry's history was so intriguing. It kept me engaged in the book when her life issues bogged me down. I thought Claire's issues with her family and her former lover distracted from the story of the tapestry.
Overall, I enjoyed this book with some distractions. I loved the tapestry and I wanted more. I wanted to know more about Beatrice and her Duke; less about Claire and her issues. This is a fun historical mystery and I think readers will enjoy it.
About the author:
P.A. Staes is the author of The Bruges Tapestry; the first of the Clare 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.
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