For Everyone Who Loved Pride And Prejudice And Legions Of Historical Fiction Lovers An Inspired Debut Novel Set In Austen S WorldCharlotte Collins, Nee Lucas, Is The Respectable Wife Of Hunsford S Vicar, And Sees To Her Duties By Rote Keeping House, Caring For Their Adorable Daughter, Visiting Parishioners, And Patiently Tolerating The Lectures Of Her Awkward Husband And His Condescending Patroness, Lady Catherine De Bourgh Intelligent, Pragmatic, And Anxious To Escape The Shame Of Spinsterhood, Charlotte Chose This Life, An Inevitable One So Socially Acceptable That Its Quietness Threatens To Overwhelm Her Then She Makes The Acquaintance Of Mr Travis, A Local Farmer And Tenant Of Lady Catherine In Mr Travis Company, Charlotte Feels Appreciated, Heard, And Seen For The First Time In Her Life, Charlotte Begins To Understand Emotional Intimacy And Its Effect On The Heart And How Breakable That Heart Can Be With Her Sensible Nature Confronted, And Her Own Future About To Take A Turn, Charlotte Must Now Question The Role Of Love And Passion In A Woman S Life, And Whether They Truly Matter For A Clergyman S Wife When spinster Charlotte Lucas, Jane Austen s most unromantic, pragmatic character, settled for the odious Mr Collins, we were quite certain of her connubial un bliss Molly Greeley s continuation of her story after the conclusion of Pride and Prejudice sensitively reveals her wedded life with heartbreak and humor Austen fans will revel in her lyrical prose and reverence to the canon, while historical fiction readers will appreciate her atmospheric Regency world and historical accuracy The Clergyman s Wife is a poignant, pensive, and brilliant exploration of women s lot in early nineteenth century England and how one woman rose to make a silk purse out of a sow s ear Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of Jane Austen Made Me Do It. The only classics I really loved are Jane Austen s books and I ve read them many many times, so these days it s much exciting for me to find contemporary authors reimagining her books or characters And this book fascinated me right from the time I saw it on Edelweiss, because when have we ever thought about Charlotte s life after her marriage to Mr Collins I was very happy when I received this advance copy and I devoured this in just a few hours This is the author s debut novel but you probably wouldn t be able to guess that because the prose is absolutely beautiful and lyrical and so many other adjectives which I don t even know While I couldn t put the book down at all, it is by no means a fast paced novel It s slow and languid and has a melancholic aesthetic to it, and you can feel every single feeling that the author wants you to Days go by and the seasons change and that atmosphere is so perfectly captured that it amazed me I also thought the author wrote about Charlotte s loneliness in a way that deeply resonated with me.It also helps that the author knows her PP characters well and even though she is writing her own backstory and future story for them, you feel that these are the same people whom you have known since you first read the original and you are just getting to know them better now I think it s difficult to create a new story with familiar characters without being too disruptive, and I love that the author managed to create a perfect balance I m pretty sure most of us pitied Charlotte for choosing marry Mr Collins, maybe even looked down on her for compromising but she knows what she did and why she had to make those choices We get to know her so much better in this book her childhood dreams, the moment she realized she was never going to be a catch, and her decision to choose comfort and security over love She is a very kind hearted woman who is trying to make the best of her life, but there are also moments of self reflection, pain and loneliness, of thinking about what ifs and wondering what she can do And the time when she realizes what emotional intimacy can feel like, what does it feel like to be seen and heard her heartache and confusion was very poignant and beautifully written I have to say I really empathized with her a lot and only wanted her to be happy Mr Collins is the same person we know, giving his long winding opinions on everything and being extra deferential towards Lady Catherine And while he can be annoying as ever, seeing him through Charlotte s eyes brings a certain humanity to his character He is not someone who is expressive or good at communicating true feelings, but she manages to get little glimpses of his true self and I thought that was done so sensitively Lady Catherine is her usual obnoxious self and I don t think anyone can make her seem sympathetic I loved the two newly added characters Mr Travis and Mrs Fitzgibbon and the lovely friendship and companionship they brought to Charlotte, who was so starved for affection And I was totally delighted to see her daughter Louisa grow up within the pages of the book And I won t deny that getting to meet Lizzy and Mr Darcy was amazing, even if just for a couple of scenes To conclude, if you love Austen retellings or spinoffs, you should definitely try this book It s beautiful and evocative and completely captured my heart I was probably in a fragile emotional state while reading it and needed some catharsis it looks like because I wept and wept through most of the second half It s not a sad book per se, but it does have a bit of that feeling permeating throughout and while it made me cry, I don t think it ll elicit the same reaction in everyone I m so glad that I got the opportunity to read this book and I m very much looking forward to see what the author writes next. Lucky to receive an advance reading copy of THE CLERGYMAN S WIFE forthcoming from William Morrow, December 2019 , I was both very entertained and moved by Molly Greeley s debut novel about one of Jane Austen s relatable and enigmatic characters, Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice Having always enjoyed both Charlotte s pragmatism and her friendship with Austen s heroine Elizabeth Bennet, it was particularly satisfying to read this wholly new and creative work of fiction Greeley s writing style is exquisite and lyrical, and through strong and measured control of her prose, she captures perfectly the interior emotional landscape of a woman who has compromised significantly in some areas of life romance, physical attraction, companionship in order to forge a life and home and family of her own Although a stand alone story in many ways, the book also works on another level, building on the familiar reader s notions of Charlotte s husband s quirks and follies, his patron Lady Catherine de Bourgh s selfish arrogance, and her sickly daughter s lack of social energy at the same time brand new secondary characters, whether baby Louisa or the attractive Mr Travis or the lonely neighbour Mrs Fitzgibbon, are equally memorable This is a book to savour, like the seasons and the emotions it so skillfully draws, and Greeley is a wonderful new talent to discover. This book is a must read for Pride and Prejudice fans It has the same atmosphere, it s beautifully written and I really enjoyed that the author decided not focusing so much on the Bennet family I ve always liked Charlotte, she s a good friend to Elizabeth and I enjoyed that the author focused the story on her.In Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte ends up marrying Mr Collins, the awkward cousin that got rejected by Elizabeth Bennet The story takes place a few years after Pride and Prejudice Charlotte and Mr Collins had a daughter, they live a pretty good life and Charlotte kept her friendship with Elizabeth by sending letters telling each other how their lives were Charlotte realizes how hollow her life is She has a good marriage, yes But does she feel passionate for her husband Does he show enough affection for her Besides, she often puts up with Mr Collin s patroness, the horrible Lady Catherine de Bourgh She is a rancorous rich old woman who often criticizes Charlotte and Mr Collins agrees with anything she says.Lady Catherine sends Mr Tyler, a meritorious farmer to plant some roses at Charlotte s garden Mr Tyler is a nice, polite man and every time Charlotte talks to him, he is courteous For the first time, she feels like she s not invisible and someone thinks she s interesting and fun to talk to But the story takes place in another century when it would be considered outrageous for women to be so close to a man who is not your husband The story is than I thought it would be It s about friendship and rethinking one s happiness I really liked reading about the beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice and the author did not disappoint me. This is a pleasant, enjoyable book, notable for its lovely writing and its consideration of the real financial challenges facing women in Jane Austen s day, as well as by its empathy for its characters especially, and perhaps surprisingly, Mr Collins In Molly Greeley s hands Mr Collins s flaws are not softened not in the least but possible explanations are provided and he is made into a human and nuanced character than he appears in Pride and Prejudice Overall, it is a pleasure throughout the book to behold the author demonstrating compassion for the characters without letting them off the hook for their moral choices Frankly, I m a sucker for anything Jane Austen I ll admit that much of my enjoyment of this book is due to that fact Still, The Clergyman s Wife is among the better selections of the Austen world sub genre Clearly, the author is not all about profiting off a cash cow she is, with wisdom and care, exploring questions that provide a richer understanding of both history and our own lives.My one nitpick is that, although the author mostly seems to take care to use period vocabulary, I was jolted out of the story by a couple of words which were coined decades after the story takes place My guess is that most readers may not even notice, or care In general, Greeley s writing is gently evocative, clear, and lyrical without going overboard.This book is not a six course meal, it s not a rich dessert, it s not junk food, and it s not wild game It s like a very nice homemade fruit salad, tasty and light, wholesome and flavorful, and just substantial enough to make you feel pleasantly fed In other words, I felt improved by the book without having to work hard I m glad I read it and I would read from this author. Charlotte married Mr Collins, not out of love but out of a need for security This story picks up on these characters from Pride and Prejudice and tells us what happened next I never usually pick up book written by another author that features an established author s characters like Jane Austen, but something about this one called to me I was not disappointed I quickly settled into the tenor of the story and became absorbed in the story I enjoyed catching up with the characters I enjoyed getting to know Charlotte Her husband, William, is still very much under deferential thrall to Lady Catherine, who is her pompous, arrogant and interfering self When she goes to talk to Mr Collins about him his last sermon she tells him it was uninspiring I clearly heard her voice and the tone it was said in and had a little chuckle.There are many amusing moments and equally poignant moments as Charlotte relates to the local people and gets to know Mr Travis and his elderly father, who take a shine to Charlotte and William s baby Louisa I really liked the careful friendship that evolves between Charlotte and Mrs Fitzgibbon This is a gentle and charming read that reflects and build on the original period and characters, even to the fleeting appearance of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy As the relationship between Charlotte and Mr Travis progressed I did wonder how it would play out The ending perfectly complimented the chracters and the genre My heartfelt thanks to Allen and Unwin for my uncorrected proof copy to read and review The whole story is lyrical I loved it Fans of Jane Austen will definitely not be disappointed What a charming debut novel Molly Greeley has given us to enjoy It is new and fresh yet still manages to retain the essence of the original Along with the well rounded characters, the period and the setting, the little details so beautifully rendered make this a delight to read. This is a very nicely written, very light and enjoyable little historical novel Nestled within the Jane Austin cast of characters it would still be very accessible I believe to people who have not read Austin.Charlotte Collins married Mr Collins because it was a sensible, prudent thing to do She was never a romantic and was not troubled that she did not love Mr Collins, that his regard for her must be imaginary nor that she knew nothing of being a clergyman s wife.Three years after their marriage this novel begins Charlotte has a little daughter she adores and a pragmatic approach to life but is than a little lonely One day Mr Travis comes to plant rose bushes in their garden at the behest of Lady Catherine and an immediate connection is felt between Mrs Collins and Mr Travis Slowly they begin a tentative, charming, barely there, not quite friendship which is not quite proper I really was charmed by the tone of the book, I love reading historical fiction and it is a pleasure to read one that has so obviously had a lot of thought a research into the period put into it Many small daily references to the minutiae of life in the times are nicely inserted into the text in a very natural, very effective way I was also delighted with how little happens Sounds strange But many historical novels fall down in putting too many large showy events into the narrative, what Austin herself would have dismissively condemned as Gothic writing and did in Northanger Abbey In The Clergyman s Wife, it feels like you are reading about real life and I thoroughly enjoyed that Now there were one or two small things that jolted me out of the historical reading haze as they seemed to me out of character, a couple of words that felt a little modern, but they fit in with the story and did not bother me much at all.The tone of the writing was also very nice indeed It will be familiar to any reader of Austin novels as many of the phrases, descriptions and words are sourced in this story While many of the writing tactics as well as the characters and the settings are unabashedly inspired by Pride and Prejudice I still think that it would be accessible to people who did not read PP because while the tone is similar the story is a lot simpler and linear that PP, with fewer side plots, no red herrings and fewer characters Charlotte is the main character, Mr Travis, Mr Collins are secondary characters but there stories are only really applicable where they touch on Charlotte s life There are a host of small characters that are relevant, but at the end of the day, the stage is Charlotte s.This is an excellent addition to the many good Austin inspired novels out there, I have a few favourites and this will join them Incidentally, I expected it to be a love story and it kind of is, but not really There was a lot unexpected about this novel Now, I expect a lot of people reading this will have, like myself read and re read Pride and Prejudice, I have a few extra comments for them, about how the narrative and characters fit in with my ideas from the original These comments are spoilers if you have read PP, and are irrelevant and useless if you have not so view spoiler While I thoroughly enjoyed the main character, I did not feel that this Charlotte was the Charlotte of PP at all Sure, this is after three years of marriage to Mr Collins, which Eliza conceived of as a degradation , Charlotte will have changed a lot for sure Nevertheless, I saw little of the practical, grounded and level headed Charlotte of the PP novel This Charlotte, while practical in her own way, was romantic, dreamy and not very hard headed at all I saw no trace of the cynical and clear visioned woman who was considered sensible by the rather impossibly high standards of Mr Bennet Also, the avid reader who was Eliza s best friend The two were united in their observations of the idiosyncrasies of humanity and their follies, a perspective that is wholly lacking from this Charlotte I loved the story of how Charlotte and the younger Eliza became friends, but I saw no trace of the woman who loved to read Rather than reading, thinking about things she had read or applying any philosophies in her thought this Charlotte drifts around in her own head for most of the novel, she lacks the avid mind and cynical perspective of the Charlotte I had imagined.Despite this, I really enjoyed the character and did not object to the differences I would LOVE to hear what other readers think of this Charlotte vs the Austin Charlotte One thing that this author did better than Austin yes, I know, don t anyone shoot me please is how she rounded out the character of Mr Collins I loved it While in PP Mr Collins is a reprehensible caricature of a character, with only hints as to how he became so, in this book the author makes him a believable, rounded character She never makes him likable, as such, but he ceases to be a two dimensional person, I have full respect for how this has been done There is even an attempt to make Lady Catherine human, really read it and see hide spoiler What a lovely read by Ms Greeley Thank you to William Morrow books as I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own.I adored Charlotte and found her character so relatable In a time when women obeyed their husbands and upheld their societal roles, Charlotte was the wife of the local vicar She escaped the life of becoming a spinster by choosing this life even though she yearns for Mr Collins is an awkward husband and Charlotte is often embarrassed by his actions and words.Charlotte soon meets Mr Travis, a local farmer, and an unlikely friendship begins to blossom She finds herself finding excuses to visit and begins to understand what being heard, valued and how such things can have such an affect on the heart and your emotions It was really heartbreaking as you really felt for Charlotte and Mr Travis Both obviously felt for each other however, they could never act on their emotions Charlotte resigns herself to the role of vicars wife and I think she takes the emotions she feels with her, knowing that there IS out there I think just the notion comforts her and helps her through the monotony of her life.A beautiful read I thoroughly enjoyed. The writing in The Clergyman s Wife was so well done that I found myself completely absorbed in the era and characters of the story I loved reading Charlotte s inner thoughts and finding what happened after she married Mr Collins I wish though, that the story had of an arc It ended as it began, a quiet tale of Austen s smaller characters Lovely to read, but not quite fully satisfying I would happily read A Clergyman s Daughter Son if it ever came to be. The reimagined life of Charlotte Lucas, Lizzie s best friend is a real treat Charlotte is married to Mr Collins and has resigned herself to a life of mediocrity and a life of joyless duty until she meets Mr Travis Great feel, pace and characterization Thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
- 304 pages
- The Clergymans Wife
- Molly Greeley
- 08 November 2017 Molly Greeley