Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Vicar's Wife - Kregel Blog Tour Review

The Vicar's Wife
Katharine Swartz, 2013
Lion Fiction
Lion Hudson plc
Wilkinson House, Jordan Hill Road,
Oxford OX2 8DR, England
Kregel Publishing
ISBN 978 1 78264 070 7

Recently I've had the opportunity to read another great book from Kregel, The Vicar's Wife.  It's a parallel story about 2 women, one current and one historical and their lives in a vicarage on Britain's Cumbrian coast.

Jane, the more current character, is from New York and career oriented.  Her husband, Andrew, is British.   After their daughter gets in trouble from hanging out with a questionable crowd Andrew applies for and accepts a position in Britain.  The family is uprooted, moves to Britain and settles in an old vicarage.  While working on the pantry of the vicarage Jane finds a grocery list from many years past.  As Jane begins to try to figure out who the list belonged to and the story of Alice James comes to light things begin to change and become more bearable.  Living in Britain is not the new life Jane and her children would have hoped for but instead creates different tension in the family.

Alice James, the character from years past, was a young woman who married and moved to the vicarage with her husband.  Jane slowly realizes that Alice's life at the vicarage affected many people even though she lived a quiet life.  As the book moves chapter by chapter from Jane to Alice then back to Jane, etc. it is quite interesting to find out what the two women desired from life and learned about themselves while living at the vicarage.  By the end of the story there are a few extra twists that make Jane think long and hard about what is important in her life.

This book tells two stories at the same time and compares the lives of a young wife from long ago and a wife from current days who lives for her career, status, and busyness.  The story is easy to follow and interesting as well as emotional.  At a time when many women are questioning whether they should go back home for the family instead of working elsewhere it is refreshing to read about a gentler and quieter life.  I really enjoyed this book and will look for more stories from this author.

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