Books: Portrait Of A Medieval Lady

The author of Girl with a Pearl Earring offers a paint-by-the-numbers tale of mysterious tapestries

In her immensely popular 2000 novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier created a fictional backstory for a famous 17th century work of art. In her new book, The Lady and the Unicorn (Dutton; 250 pages), she has created a fictional backstory for a famous 15th century work of art. It would seem the author is only too happy to be pegged as reliably formulaic. This will no doubt attract fans of the earlier novel (the movie adaptation of which is now in theaters), but it also invites inevitable comparisons, and in this regard, the new book stumbles.

Girl with...

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