The Vicar’s Wife
A powerful drama of domestic life following two memorable women who shared a house eighty years apart
A New Yorker all her life, Jane Hatton loved her job as the head of a charity championing women’s rights, but her fourteenyear- old daughter, Natalie, had fallen in with the wrong crowd at her Manhattan school. So Jane and her British husband, Andrew, have decided to move their family to the English countryside.
The Hattons have bought the large old vicarage in a small village on the Cumbrian coast, near Andrew’s new job. The silence and solitude of a remote village is quite a change. Natalie hates her new school, and eleven-year-old Ben struggles academically. Only seven-year-old Merrie enjoys country life. Has Jane made a horrible mistake? What of her career? Her own identity?
Putting on a brave face for the family, Jane tackles renovating the rambling, drafty old house. When she finds a scrap of a very old shopping list, she grows curious about Alice, the vicar’s wife who lived there years before.
As the twin narratives unfold—of Jane in the present and Alice in the 1930s—we discover that both are on a journey to discover their true selves, and to address their deepest fears.
This is one of those books I wasn’t sure I would like after reading the first chapter. But I am so glad I kept reading. This was also one of those books I can’t really put my finger on what I liked about it but I did…a lot.
After the first chapter, which had a lot of back story, I was drawn into the life of Jane and Alice. Jane is our modern-day heroine and Alice is our past-day (not sure if that’s really a term) heroine. Both women are struggling to find their place in their new lives. Katherine (the author) does a great job of making the reader sympathetic to the characters. Although with Jane I did want to tell her to get over herself a couple of times. But I am sure I would’ve felt the same way she did, as I tend to have pity parties for myself when things don’t go my way.
I identified with Jane’s struggles as a mother, wanting to be a good mom but questioning her abilities and wondering if she really knew her kids as well as she thought. What mom doesn’t question if she’s doing a good job?
I loved visiting the English countryside, I could picture the sheep pasture and small church near by. I could feel the cold and the rain but still found that place intriguing.
There isn’t a whole lot of talk about God or Jesus even though this is consider Christian fiction but it is a clean read except for at least one word that I can remember.
If you’re looking for something a bit different you might want to give this book a read.
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.