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February 3, 2014

THE VICAR'S WIFE by Katharine Swartz


A powerful drama of domestic life following two memorable women who shared a house eighty years apart 

The Vicar's Wife

Kate Hewitt
Katharine Swartz

Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 18th 2013
 Lion Fiction
ISBN 1782640703
 (ISBN13: 9781782640707)

(from Goodreads)
Jane Hatton and her British husband Andrew relocate from New York City to a small village on the Cumbrian coast. Jane has been city-based and career-driven but when her fourteen year old daughter Natalie falls in with the wrong crowd at school in Manhattan, she and Andrew decide to try country living. However Jane has trouble getting used to the silence and solitude of a remote village. 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? The Hattons have bought the old vicarage in the village. When Jane finds a scrap of shopping list, she grows curious about Alice, the vicar’s wife who lived there years before. As we follow the twin narratives of Jane, in the present, and Alice in the 1930s we discover that both are on a journey to discover their true selves, and to address their deepest fears
Kate Hewitt


Kate Hewitt wrote her first story at the age of five, simply because her older brother had written one and she thought she could do it too. That story was one sentence long—fortunately, they have become a bit more detailed as she’s grown older. She studied drama in college and shortly after graduation moved to New York City to pursue a career in theatre. This was derailed by something far better—meeting the man of her dreams who happened also to be her older brother’s childhood friend.
Ten days after their wedding they moved to England, where Kate worked a variety of different jobs—drama teacher, editorial assistant, church youth worker, secretary, and finally mother.
When her oldest daughter was one year old, she sold her first short story to a British magazine, The People’s Friend. Since then she has written many stories and serials as well as novels. In 2007 she received ‘The Call’ from Mills & Boon for her first Harlequin Presents novel, The Italian’s Chosen Wife. Since then she has written over 25 books for Harlequin, and also writes women’s fiction for Carina UK and Lion Hudson Press. She loves writing stories that both tackle tough issues and celebrate the redeeming power of love.
Besides writing, she enjoys reading, traveling, and learning to knit—it’s an ongoing process and she’s made a lot of scarves.
Kate lives in a tiny village on the northwest coast of England with her husband, five young children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.


A Village Affair The Other Side of the BridgeThe Prince She Never KnewThis Fragile Life
I wasn't sure about this book.  I was a little leery that it would have a lot of religious reference to it. I liked that the first chapter was rather an introduction into the lives  of Jane and Alice.The author wove together two women's lives who were  both heroines but in different times., past and present. Both of the women are strong women out of necessity but still struggle with their new lives they are placed in.  I felt sad for the two women, of which the author, Ms. Swartz did a wonderful job of getting the reader to sympathize. Two families, so similar, and yet decades apart.
Alice, one of the main characters was sweet and unselfish. 
The character Jane was rather self centered, of course, we all are at times.  I wanted to reach out and shake her and tell her to get over it. I believe Jane sincerely wanted to be a good mother but her motherly instincts seemed to be lacking.  Every mother has doubts as to whether she is doing right by her child. They author also wrote in some domestic scenes which only added to the realism of the story, or should I say stories.?
Ms. Swartz described the English countryside so well that  you could picture the little church with the sheep nearby.  You could almost smell and feel the cold  and the rain.  But there was still a mysticism about the area.
Taking place in the 1930's, I liked following the two separate narratives, looking for the differences and the similarities of the two women.  The descriptions off the landscapes and the characters make you feel that you are there, living in the Vicar's house in two different decades.
The author wrote a delightful, intriguing and clean read. Sometimes that is a rarity.
Anybody who loves history, a web of two different,yet similar women, and their lives will surely find this read a change from normal history books.

I was given a complimentary copy of THE VICAR"S WIFE by Katharine Swartz from Kregel Blog Tours for my honest opinion.  No other compensation took place.

I would give this book 4 STARS.

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