Book Review: The Clergyman’s Wife by Molly Greeley

Charlotte Collins is the dutiful wife of Hunsford’s vicar. Although it may not be perfect, her marriage allows her security, and so she patiently tolerates Mr Collins’ awkward lectures and cares for their young daughter.

But there’s more to Charlotte than she’d have you think. Fiercely intelligent and pragmatic, Charlotte yearns for something more.

When she meets Mr Travis, a local farmer, Charlotte starts to feel a spark of something she has never felt before.

Could it be desire? Could it even be love? And will she listen to what her head is telling her or should she follow her heart?

What I Thought:

I *love* a good Pride & Prejudice continuation! There are many books that fit the bill, that either follow Darcy and Elizabeth in their married life, or books like this that take a supplementary character and expand on their story and, in the case of The Clergyman’s Wife, we are following Charlotte Collins.

Charlotte is a really interesting character, in that she is pragmatic in marrying Mr Collins for security, rather than love. This novel explores what happens when Charlotte – after considering herself far too old for such frivolities as love – begins to have feelings for a local farmer.

The book is interesting in how it looks at the Collins’ marriage. One would assume from the original book that there is no love there, Charlotte puts up with Mr Collins and that is that. That’s not the case here as Charlotte is often frustrated with her husband – and his very long sermons – yet acknowledges that he has entered a life of religious service from a place of a genuine wish to do good. She can’t ever say that he is not a devoted husband and, despite not really knowing what to do with his daughter, he is not a neglectful father or husband. He’s just a bit of a boob.

The challenge also with Charlotte is realising that she is not an old woman – she’s only 30-years-old, and only ‘old’ in the framing of the 18th Century, so it’s natural for her to be in her first flush of love, it’s just unfortunate that societal norms of the time mean that she is already married and settled.

This slow blossoming of Charlotte as a woman who feels capable of love is really lovely to read and it’s not a spoiler to say that the book ends on a hopeful note for her future as she decides to live with determination and, arguably, more spirit than she has had before.

The Clergyman’s Wife is published by Penguin.

About the Author:

Molly Greeley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where her addiction to books was spurred by her parents’ floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. A graduate of Michigan State University, she began as an Education major, but switched to English and Creative Writing after deciding that gainful employment was not as important to her as being able to spend several years reading books and writing stories and calling it work.

She lives in northern Michigan with her husband and three children, and can often be found with her laptop at local coffee shops.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book via Netgalley for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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