Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The Vicar's Wife by Katharine Swartz (aka Kate Hewitt)

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from Kregel Publications for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it


The Vicar's Wife cover

Synopsis:

A New Yorker all her life, Jane Hatton loved her job as the head of a charity championing women's rights, but her fourteen-year-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.


Review

This is a quick and easy read about the choices we make to define ourselves, our family and what we thought was our future. Marriage is full of compromise and when the shoe falls on the other foot. it is hard for Jane to sacrifice and let go of what was. On one hand it is a book that most of us could relate to- moving and getting kids adjusted and settled, kids settling in quicker, the adults struggling to find their place and adjust. on the other hand, I personally want to thump Jane on the head a few times. As a reader I was confused as to how a woman who organized a HUGE NYC charity gala, bringing in millions of dollars, could not reach out and find things to do, or even find a charity to work for in her new country. The dual mindset just didn't gel for me. I understood why the author wrote the book that way, but I just wanted to scream at times. The back story of the house is interwoven nicely into the story, but again I felt like it was something that Jane could have used to help her out of her doldrums- write a blog (!!), or a book. She obviously had high powered friends who could have gotten it to an editor....sigh...

The book is obviously based on some of Katharine's life, and writing what you know is a good thing. But sometimes as a reader you have to let go of common sense and just read, and enjoy the book for what it is. This is an enjoyable quick read, just be prepared for some eye rolling! LOL.


About the Author:

After spending three years as a diehard New Yorker, Katharine Swartz (real name Kate Hewitt) 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.

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