Chevalier takes us into the artisan world of painters and weavers to describe a set of tapestries commissioned by the Le Viste family. The painter, Nicholas, convinces Le Viste to switch from battle tapestries to those following the story of the lady and the unicorn, which is a sensual story. The tapestries exist in real life but Chevalier makes up a story to envision how they were created.
Meanwhile, Nicholas tries to seduce every woman he meets, including Le Viste's daughter. He considers himself quite the charmer and his ways don't change when he is sent to Belgium to help the weavers.
The story is told from different characters' viewpoints - everyone from Nicholas, to Le Viste's daughter, to members of the weaver's family. Even with the switches in narration, the story is smooth and makes sense. It's easy to connect with the characters and wonder what will happen to them.
I was intrigued enough after finishing the book to go look up what the tapestries actually look like. If you do the same, make sure you find the picture where they are all hung up in the same room! It's quite something!
First Line: "The messenger said I was to come at once."