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The Clergyman's Wife

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A nice easy read with a feel of Jane Austen. Charlotte Lucas is quite a plain young girl and knows she is unlikely to find a husband for love; however she sets her eye of Mr Collins to secure a stable future.  Once married, they move to Hunsford where he is the parish vicar.   Charlotte soon realises that her life will be dominated by the formidable Lady Catherine and expected to help minister to the parishioners.   
Its a quite life and when her daughter Louisa is born she has a new focus and purpose.   Eventually, she meets Mr Travis a local farmer and they quickly become friends.
They both realise their feelings are stronger but she is married so their love is forbidden.   
A tale of love and difficult decisions of a time gone by.
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A wonderful spin-off from Pride and Prejudice, this charming book tells the story of Charlotte Lucas. Mr Collins, after setting his sights on both Jane and Elizabeth Bennett, turns his attention to the plain and sensible Miss Lucas. She knows she can never love a man like him, but for her, security is the main objective in accepting his proposal. They move to Hunsford where Mr Collins is the local clergyman. With the birth of their daughter Louisa, she finds herself living a quiet life, that whilst somewhat unfulfilling, is nevertheless, satisfactory. She had never craved romance. But that all changes when she meets local farmer Mr Travis. A beautiful friendship grows, they share their life stories, they laugh hard together, and she feels truly seen for the first time in her life. As they spend more time walking together, they cannot deny the growing strength of their feelings. They are drawn irresistibly to one another. But when news reaches them that Mr Bennett has died and they have therefore inherited the estate of Longbourn, their move is imminent. In a farewell scene that is both poignant and heartbreaking, Mr Travis and Charlotte know they will never forget one another and Charlotte resolves to give her daughter the self-belief she never herself possessed in order that she doesn't accept a life that is less than she deserves.
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This is absolutely not my usual kind of book, so I was rather astonished that I enjoyed it so much!
Charlotte Collins lives a rather joyless life, until she makes the acquaintance of Mr Travis, the farmer and gardener. 
Then she finds she has some difficult choices to make...
This is a story about a woman’s worth, about her place in society.
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This was a real page turner and I loved it. I loved Pride and Prejudice and I felt this was a great follow on read. I was completely absorbed in the story.
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An excellent read for lovers of Jane Austen. 

I have always loved Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice has always been my favourite book well before the TV adaptation and Colin Firth! When I was at university back in the seventies my dissertation was called ‘Irony in the Character Studies of Jane Austen’ and in fact Ms Austen was the master of this genre. On the surface she was telling romantic stories but her characters were always so well observed and she had the most amazing ironic tone. 

The greatest compliment that I can pay Ms Greeley is that she has managed to write a book about one of the relatively minor characters from the original story but still imitates the style of Ms Austen remarkably well. 

The story revolves around Charlotte, who has married Mr Collins and is living her life with him and her daughter, Louisa, who is the light of her life. We discover that her first born child was a son who died shortly after her birth. Charlotte is well aware that she was a second choice for Mr Collins. He had proposed to Elizabeth Bennet who had turned him down very strongly and needing a wife had turned to Charlotte. She does not love him but as a woman from a poor family she had felt useless and a burden to her parents and any marriage was better than that. 

One of the beauties of this book is the way it alludes to characters from the original classic. We do briefly meet Elizabeth and Mr Darcy when they are visiting the wonderful Lady Catherine De Bourgh and her ailing daughter but they are peripheral. Lady Catherine is just as obnoxious as before and Mr Collins is just as fawning around her and some of the conversations are just brilliant. 

This is a bitter sweet story as Charlotte, quite by accident, meets Mr Travis, who is hired by Lady Catherine, to plant the roses at the vicarage. Immediately there is a rapport between them and, as the book continues, it is obvious that they are very much in love with each other. Charlotte is trapped in a loveless marriage but realises that for her there is no other choice. The author describes the growing attachment between them so well but they both realise that there is nothing that can be done. 

I absolutely loved this book and was so hoping for a happy ending but that did not detract from the brilliance of the writing. I see she has another book due out next year. Please can I review it! 


Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of the book to review
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I absolutely love Jane Austen sequels and so I was delighted to be able to find one about one of the ‘minor’ characters in Pride and Prejudice (one of my favourite books) Charlotte Collins nee Lucas. Charlotte always struck me as an interesting character - the impoverished daughter of a gentleman , the confidante of Lizzie Bennett, the potential important spinster of Meryton - and yet she was, I feel, an underdeveloped character in P&P. Jane Austen must have had her reasons but the plot as it related to Charlotte left her slightly more important than Kitty and Mary Bennett  but not, somehow, As central as she might have deserved to be.
The Clergyman’s Wife is well written and skilfully plotted but it somehow left me wanting more. The author certainly remained true to the social niceties of the times but she needed, in my opinion, to give the reader just a little bit more. I don’t want to give away the plot but I will say that there needed to be more of a believable reconciliation of the feelings between  between Charlotte and her friend, Mr.Travis. Charlotte, yet again, had to sacrifice her happiness for the sake of social norms. But the descriptions of Charlotte’s inner life, the exasperation she feels towards her husband and her ‘betters’ and the grief for her  dead first baby are wonderful. The section about the birth and death of Lucas, her baby boy, brought a lump to my throat.
Having said all of that, I enjoyed the book and found the detail of Charlotte’s daily life to be interesting and believable. The character of Mr. Collins, her husband, Lady Catherine and Lady Anne  continue to be utterly odious. It would have been nice to see the character of Lizzie Bennett have a larger role in the story but that is just a personal preference.
This book is easy to read, enjoyable and is a worth addition to the tome of Jane Austen sequels.

Thanks to NetGalley and to Penguin for allowing me to read an ARC of this novel.
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If like me you are fascinated and disturbed by the decision of Charlotte Lucas to marry Mr Collins in ‘Pride and Prejudice’, then you will enjoy ‘The Clergyman’s Wife’ by Molly Greeley. I felt immediately immersed in Charlotte’s world at Hunsford.
I won’t summarise the background to this novel on the assumption that all readers will be fans of ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Suffice to say, this could so easily have slipped into negative territory, negativity about William Collins and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, but Greeley handles Austen’s characters with respect, taking the heritage of Charlotte’s situation and adding a fresh perspective on her future. We see Mr Collins from a new, sympathetic angle, and are given an insight into Charlotte’s decision to marry him, her family’s position and the limited options available to her. 
I liked Charlotte extremely, a considered, thoughtful woman, given an impossible choice to make and often put into uncomfortable situations by the crassness of people around her. Charlotte however is not negative, she works out the positive thing to do rather than assign blame.
This is a Regency family drama structured around the meaning of love; all kinds of love, for your spouse, your parents and siblings, as a mother, for the people who are your responsibility, and for yourself. Although Charlotte lives a life constrained by geography, convention and manners, that does not mean she lacks freedom. It is a freedom of imagination, a freedom of the mind. So when she faces a situation which she never believed would befall her, it is a life-changing experience.
A delightful light read, I read it in one sitting in holiday, you most definitely must have read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ first to get the most from the undercurrent of references. I can’t help but wonder what Jane Austen would think of it.
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I found myself intrigued by Charlotte and the choices that she made. 

Greeley had an exceptional talent of keeping me in suspense every time she met up with Mr Travis, wondering whether they were just going to come together or not. 

A brilliant piece of writing encompassing the fight between love and lust but also the hard decisions we face even after we thought we made the right ones at the beginning. 

A beautiful summertime read
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Set in the 1800's. Charlotte Lucas had married clergyman, William Collins who was heir to the Bennett Estate. It's been several years now since they were married. She's given birth to Louisa and made a new friend Mr Travis, a local farmer. Charlotte had married out of necessity, not wanting to be a burden o  her brothers.

The author has did a fantastic job with Charlotte's character development.  It's a heartwrenching and bittersweet read. There is some domestic abuse and the death of an baby. William Collins is a dreadful character. This is a well written book. I hope the author writes more of these classical fiction stories. 

I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin Books (UK) and the author Molly Greeley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Spin-off chicken requires lots of additions and spices to make it barely palatable and the same is true of Jane Austen. The trouble is that if you add too much flavour the aficionados will complain and if you stick to what you know from the source novel the taste can be flat and unexciting.

These are the challenges which Molly Greeley is facing in this novel based on, dare I say it, one of the more boring characters in Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Lucas. She's the one who thinks she's fairly plain and talentless and just wants to get married so she settles for the horrible cleric, William Collins, who has already been turned down by almost everybody else and that's about where this book starts.

It's basically an account of how Charlotte manages to compromise her existence to the extent where life is bearable as a clergyman's wife. She loses one child but another lives and there is a predictable knee trembling relationship with a local farmer but it never gets to the bodice ripping stage. She engages politely with the horrible Lady Catherine but never challenges her and constantly bites her tongue. She finally works out how to operate as a vicar's wife supporting the poor and, generally, knowing her place. In that sense, the book is quite positive in terms of Charlotte making the best of what she thought she could aim for.

That's probably true to her character as well but you so want her to break out and express these feelings which are bubbling beneath the service, whether it's contempt for privilege and her snobby husband or ill-concealed lust for Mr Travis. The trouble is this isn't in the original but the problem is exaggerated by the timescale of the book which runs for almost a decade where things only very slowly get better so most of the time they are pretty bad!

The novel is written in what you might call an Austen-esque style so everything is expressed slightly obliquely and politely. It's so easy to parody that it's sometimes hard to convey any genuine sense of feeling in this kind of writing.

Also, with a Jane Austen novel you can get away with the sense of a very small enclosed society and a fairly confined timeframe but with this story you have to think about what Charlotte is missing. The source book was published in 1813 so shortly after that Mary Wollstonecraft was cavorting with Shelley and there were food riots nationwide after two calamitous harvests, not to mention Waterloo! It's weird how none of these impinge on the novel.

In the end, perhaps these things don't matter. If you ever wondered about what happens to Charlotte Lucas, and plenty probably have, well here's one version and, to be fair, it is true to her character but, by the last pages, I wouldn't have been too sorry to see the zombies arrive!
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This was interesting in that it gave the background to Charlotte’s life as well as her life with Mr. Collins. I did feel sorry for Charlotte, particularly when she saw other couples who had married for love. The story seemed to portray an accurate picture of the sensibilities and expectations of behaviour at this time. Charlotte’s main joy was her daughter Louisa. Even her friendship with Mr. Travis was tentative due to spying eyes. The main reason I gave three stars was it left me feeling a little depressed and that’s not what I want from a book. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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A wonderful relaxing read, the characters are strong and the time and settings are well described.  The anticipation builds until the last chapter when the Clergyman and his wife move on to their next location.  A book you don't want to reach an end. The reading group questions at the end of the book were very thought provoking and cause the reader to review the impression the book gave.  This is a book that could be re read with different aspect of the story becoming more prominent.
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This is a beautiful book, telling the story of the parson’s wife, with the parson being the character from Pride and Prejudice.  If the reader is not familiar with Pride and Prejudice, I think they would miss a considerable part of this book.  Then again, most readers will be familiar with it.  The characters are realistically built, and I really enjoyed their interactions.  Overall, this is a very enjoyable read.
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Quite obviously I’m not the right audience for The Clergyman’s Wife as I found it a passionless and bland story. I’m sorry to those who’ve loved it – and there are a lot of you – but as someone else has said, Probably loving Pride and Prejudice is a prerequisite to enjoying this book. (Thanks Kim) And as I don’t, I guess that’s why this didn’t fit me.

Charlotte Lucas married William Collins, clergyman, for security not love. He had previously asked for the hand of two others before Charlotte and she was content in her decision. Her patience with William’s frenetic pace in his role as Hunsford’s vicar; the subservience he practiced with their patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh; then motherhood for Charlotte with her delightful daughter, Louise – all were a part of her life as a clergyman’s wife. She enjoyed her visits with the local parishioners and when she met Mr Travis, who was caring for their roses, Charlotte felt she had found a friend. But the whole of everything was threatening to overwhelm her…

The Clergyman’s Wife by Molly Greeley was not for me, but those who’ve enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, I’m sure you’ll be delighted.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this book. It was a light read, great for a day when it was lashing with rain outside and I could just curl up in a chair to read it from cover to cover. We follow Charlotte Lucas as she marries the odious Reverand Collins. there are flashbacks to her youth and learn a bit more about her family and background, why she made her pragmatic choice of marriage, how she copes having sex with Mr Collins and her realisation that she is becoming attracted to one of the parishioners a "common" farmer, Not a huge amount happens, but the narrative rolls along nicely and Charlotte's inner conservations and feelings are spot on.
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This is a debut novel written by Molly Greeley inspired by the characters from Jane Austen's much loved Pride & Prejudice.  I have to admit I haven't read Pride and Prejudice but I do love a historical romance.  The author's writing style felt very apt for the era, I could sense the atmosphere and the social etiquette.  I believe Miss Austen would be pleased with this Pride & Prejudice spin-off.

Life was lived in a different pace in the 1800's so this romance has a slow, meandering, gentle ambiance.  It simmers at a steady flow with emotions afraid to reach boiling point.

Charlotte Collins (nee Lucas) is married to William, the local clergyman.  Charlotte knew she wasn't William's first choice of bride and she was also aware that her beauty wasn't at the same level of others.  In the 1800's marriage was more like a business partnership, matters of the heart were not de rigueur and were quite frankly frowned upon, so marrying William was one of necessity for securing her future.  This marriage of convenience suited both partners as William knew he was to get a nice genteel wife in Charlotte and she too knew she would be honoured by a gentleman in William.

As the years went by and their daughter Louisa was born Charlotte found herself a little restless.  Meeting local farmer Mr Travis was to become a point in Charlotte's life that would become very memorable.  A friendship soon blossoms and Charlotte starts to feel emotions she's never experienced before.  

This friendship between Charlotte and Mr Travis felt very true, pure, beautiful but so tragic.  My heart ached for another time and another place when this friendship could blossom and for a time when love will be the only option for marriage.

A gentle historical romance that was touchingly poignant.
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I have to admit that when I first picked up this book and realised it was based on characters Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, I was in two minds whether to continue.  But I am very pleased I decided to carry on as it a gem of a book.  The story deals with the marriage of Charlotte Lucas to the odious Mr Collins, he o.f sycophantic qualities towards his sponsor Lady Catherine de Bourg.  Ms Greeley tells the story with great sensitivity of a quintessentially English story of a marriage that suited both Charlotte and Collins as she was no beauty and married for security and a decent living.

The story then follows her friendship with the fictitious Mr Travis, a farmer working on Lady Catherine's land and although there is no impropriety the friendship goes deep and the tension between the two is palpable. and beautifully handled.

Ms Greeley write extremely well and the characters are worthy of Ms Austen's admiration.  I did find the Americanisms grating to start with but chose to ignore them as the story wore on.  Highly recommended.
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An easy read. Such an original idea to take a minor character from Pride and Prejudice and create a novel around them. The author has done a very good job of recreating the times of Jane Austin. One certainly does not need to have read Pride and Prjude to enjoy this book
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An enjoyable story that keeps the reader interested until the last page. I would recommend this book to those readers who enjoy reading this type of book.
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This is a romantic curl up book in the style of Jane Austen.
Charlotte is married to the vicar of Hunsford. Its not a perfect marriage but she has a daughter and it gives her the standing and security she needs but she doesn't love her husband.
She meets Mr Travis, a local Farmer doing some gardening work for her husband and has feelings for him.
Which path will she take and will it bring her happiness?
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