Charlotte Collins is the wife of a local vicar. Her husband is caught up with what their landlady, Lady Catherine deems appropriate for high society. Charlotte is more concerned with taking care of their daughter and learning the ropes of being a vicar’s wife. She misses her family back home, but their maid Martha keeps her company while Charlotte’s husband is in his book room writing his sermons.
When Charlotte’s husband summons’s the farmer, Mr. Travis’s son to help plant roses for them, Charlotte meets a new possible kindred spirit, but decorum persists. Over time by visiting old Mr. Travis she sees how he enjoys getting to see her little daughter and how kind his son is. They speak occasionally at church and when they bump into each other on walks.
Over time Charlotte discovers she has more than friendship feelings for Mr. Travis’s son. Unlike her sister, Maria who married for love, Charlotte married out of convenience since her husband, William was the only eligible bachelor and a good social catch. Charlotte is ashamed about the feelings that are welling up for her regarding their neighbor. She senses Mr. Travis’s son has mutual feelings, but they are both conscious of what’s appropriate when interacting. It’s hard when there are nosey town neighbors spreading gossip.
This novel made me thankful I’m a women in modern times. The view of women and wives in this older era is depressing. It shows how back then marriage was a contract between esteemed families and depending on who you paired up with reflected back on your family’s status within the community. Marrying for love was not the priority and I think looked down upon. Or matching from different social classes was another huge no, no. If you never found a decent marital match then you were left to live at home indefinitely.
I received my complimentary copy of The Clergyman’s Wife by Molly Greeley from William Morrow, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own will. To procure a copy visit HarperCollins and check out more on Molly Greeley. If you enjoy Victorian era novels then you may enjoy this debut novel. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t my cup of tea, but it did provide a clear example of Victorian life.