Book Review: The Vicar’s Wife

3 Feb

640700A 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.

291535719After spending three years as a diehard New Yorker, Katharine Swartz now lives in the Lake District with her husband, an Anglican minister, their five children, and a Golden Retriever. She enjoys such novel things as long country walks and chatting with people in the street, and her children love the freedom of village life—although she often has to ring four or five people to figure out where they’ve gone off to!

She writes women’s fiction as well as contemporary romance for Mills & Boon Modern under the name Kate Hewitt, and whatever the genre she enjoys delivering a compelling and intensely emotional story.

My Impressions:

I have to say that I love being part of Kregel’s blogging program. It has introduced me to novelists I would have otherwise never met. Most of the books I have read and reviewed through their program are British and the books have brought a refreshing change. The latest book I chose, The Vicar’s Wife by Katherine Swartz, is no exception. Outstanding writing, great characters, and an interesting plot make this a book I recommend.

Jane Hatton is a New Yorker through and through. Unfortunately, her husband wants to move his family near his home in England. Faced with a huge change in lifestyle, Jane copes with a big dose of denial. The drafty vicarage they have bought, the cold and unfriendly village of Goswell and her sense of unfairness, keep Jane from truly making a new home. But when she finds an old shopping list, her perspective starts to change. A woman from the past makes a big impact on Jane’s present.

Really two stories in one, The Vicar’s Wife presents the parallel stories of Jane and Alice. Although very different, the two women share the loneliness that comes with making a new way in view of all they once held dear. It is Alice’s story that made the biggest impact, both in Jane’s life and in this reader. I loved that the author chose a woman who lived quietly and unassumingly to make a difference in so many. The similarities of the two women’s stories depict the universality of the importance of finding a place in this world. Swartz does an excellent job of bringing 1930s and modern day Goswell to life. Things change and very much stay the same.

I loved this book and think it would make an excellent choice for a book club. I am also looking forward to exploring Swartz’s other books.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

(Thanks to Kregel for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.


One Response to “Book Review: The Vicar’s Wife”


  1. Book Review: The Vicar's Wife | BY THE BOOK | Pulplit Magazine - February 3, 2014

    […] Read more here: Book Review: The Vicar's Wife | BY THE BOOK […]


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