The Rector's Wife

I generally like Joanna Trollope's books - some are rather raunchy, but they tend to be village-based with pleasant enough characters, and while I don't class her as one of top my favourite authors, I nevertheless have most of her books and re-read them every so often.

'The Rector's Wife' is one of the most thought-provoking and best-written, in my view. It focusses on Anna who has been married for twenty years to Peter, an Anglican Vicar. She has been constantly supportive, and has mostly coped with raising the children, looking after the home, and entertaining - often at short notice - a variety of people. But she's beginning to feel trapped. She isn't always sure of her own faith, and she's quite certain that her purpose in life is not to be an unpaid curate.

When Peter is disappointed after not being given a half-expected promotion, and their youngets child Flora is badly bullied in school, Anna decides to take a job in a supermarket. She wants some freedom from the demands of the parish, and she also wants to pay for Flora to go to a private school. However Peter sees this as defiance and becomes increasingly distant.

Meanwhile three very different men come into Anna's life, all of whom find her attractive. So the book revolves around her reactions to them, her problems in her marriage, and her new job as well as her continued work in the parish.

All in all I found it very enjoyable. It was the second time I had read it, but I found myself totally unable to remember what happened in the end, so I kept reading enthusiastically. It was quite thought-provoking too, my only problem being that Joanna Trollope seemed to write from a viewpoint outside that of Christianity herself - thus while she clearly tried hard to understand Peter's viewpoint, and that of other Christians in the book, there was inevitably something missing.

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