Written in the style of Rosamunde Pilcher or Maeve Binchy, The Vicar's Wife is great read set in the English countryside and going back and forth between modern times and the mid 1900s.
Jane has lived most of her life in New York City and has been married to her husband, Andrew, for 16 years. Andrew grew up in Britain and met Jane when he came to school in America. He remained in the States when they married. When Jane and Andrew's teen daughter gets into some trouble with school friends, Andrew decides to move the family to the English countryside into an old vicarage where they can live a remote life and spend more time together as a family. The children begin to adjust after some difficulty, but Jane, having left her full time job and busy life to move to a cold and run down house, can't adjust and really doesn't want to. Her resistance causes trouble between herself and Andrew and between her and the children. When Jane finds an old, yellowed shopping list in the vicarage pantry, she desires to learn about the woman who lived at the vicarage years ago. The novel then goes back and forth between the story of Jane and that of Alice, the vicar's wife.
I loved this read. I've long been a fan of novels set in the English countryside. Although I'm sure that it isn't as romantic and idyllic as it often sounds in novels, I love the thought of the rolling hills, pastures, sheep, and isolation. In fact, in The Vicar's Wife, Jane finds that that kind of life truly isn't all it's made out to be. I really liked Jane's character. There were times that I wanted to shake her for being disagreeable and difficult. At the same time, I could really feel for Jane and the loss of her old life. Alice- the vicar's wife- was also a very compelling character, and I loved her story as well.
The writing style of going back and forth from modern to older times really made for interesting reading in this book. Jane and Alice had a very parallel growth throughout the novel. Both women face some similar circumstances although they are really quite different in age, personality, and season of life. They both encounter difficulties adjusting to a new life. And Jane needs the story of Alice in order to sort out her own priorities.
The Vicar's Wife was one of my favorite recent reads. I give it 5 stars and a PG for content. (You can click above to read about my rating system.)
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.