The Bruges Tapestry by P.A. Staes is the first in a series of historical mysteries by this author that feature Claire DeMaer. We are taken back in time to the year 1520 in Bruges, Belgium where we meet a family who weaves tapestries and then propelled forward to present time in which we find Claire investigating a tapestry that has been stolen. This mystery was intriguing and the story enjoyable and I found myself interested from the start of the story right to the end and managed to read it in only one day.
In this novel we meet two strong female characters. In 1520 Bruges we are introduced to Beatrice, a sixteen year old who has gone through more in her short life than is imaginable but she keeps going forward with strength and conviction. In present day California we meet Claire who is a detective for the Newport Beach Art Theft Detail. She and her partner Artie notice that a 500 year old Flemish tapestry has gone missing from the Vatican. Never in a million years does it occur to Claire that she will find this tapestry at the home of her best friend Nora’s boyfriend and she’s horrified when she does. Of course she has no choice but to turn Nora’s boyfriend Paolo in but she knows with a sinking heart that Nora is going to be really upset with her. As Claire learns Paolo’s side of the story – that he’s a distant descendant of the Duke who commissioned the tapestry in the past, she begins to wonder if there isn’t more to this story than just a stolen tapestry and sets out to do some investigating.
As for characters Claire is a great one and I was happy to learn that future books in this series will feature her. She’s funny and I liked that she seemed like a really vulnerable woman. She’s smart and has a good job but doesn’t feel as though she has the world at her feet. She has the same fears as a lot of us that we may not be good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough. It made her a really good character that was easy to relate to. I very much enjoyed the forays into the past as I love books that alternate the past and present plus that was where the true history of tapestry weaving was revealed. There is even a sweet little romance that comes to light in the novel that lightens things up and I’m sure we’ll see more of that in future books too. The only thing I can foresee making some uncomfortable is the scandal portrayed that involves priests but it fits within the context of the story and is the catalyst for a huge part of the story but I just want to put it out there but at the same time say that it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the novel in any way.
I also enjoyed the mystery of how this stolen tapestry linked back to Beatrice in the past and ultimately the story that this tapestry told. It was fascinating to learn a little about the art of weaving tapestries as I knew nothing at all about it. I also found it interesting that because many people back in the 1500’s couldn’t read they used symbols as a way of communicating a story on the tapestries. Even more surprising to me was that tapestry weaving is an art that exists even today and it would certainly be something I would love to see one day. I love when I learn something new in what I’m reading! For me this was a really enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!
The Bruges Tapestry by P.A. Staes is touring with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and mine was the first tour stop so be sure to follow along with the rest of the tour stops for more reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways. You can learn more about P.A. Staes on her website and blog. You can pick up your own copy of The Bruges Tapestry at Amazon or Amazon Canada.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (International)
I have one copy of The Bruges Tapestry by P.A. Staes to share with my readers. To enter…
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Source: Review copy provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.