Author Katharine Swartz shows a clear understanding of the issues many women grapple with whenever their lives change in her newest book, The Vicar’s Wife. This book is two stories in one—about two women from different time periods. Both are finding it difficult to adjust to a new life in the same vicarage, about eighty years apart from each other, in a small, coastal village in England.
Jane has just moved into the vicarage with her family. Though her husband was born and raised in England, Jane is a New York City girl. She agreed to move for the sake of her children when her husband insisted they needed a better environment. But life as a stay-at-home mom after life as a successful businesswoman does not appeal to Jane.
As Jane struggles to figure out what to do about this, she discovers a shopping list stuck under a shelf in her pantry, left behind by a former occupant. Curious, she begins searching for clues about the woman who made up the list.
This is where Swartz introduces readers to Alice, a young, vicar’s wife. She struggles not only with moving to a new home but also with community expectations for a vicar’s wife. She compares herself to former wives, trying to please everyone while attempting to find her true place.
Both women face unexpected challenges as the story progresses and they begin to learn what truly makes the vicarage home. I was touched by Swartz’s insights into the problems women like these would most likely face and, though the stories moved slowly at times, I liked the way both ended overall.
I thank Kregel Publications for sending a complimentary copy of this book for my review. If you enjoy stories about issues women deal with—in any century—this book may interest you.