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The Rector's Wife [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Joanna Trollope
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1995 Wheeler Hardcover
Struggling to get by on the pittance salary that the church pays her husband, rector's wife Anna Bouverie becomes embittered when she sees her children going hungry and finds the inner strength to fix their situation. Reprint. NYT.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Description

Review

"This is Trollope's finest novel to date.  Prepare to be wittily and wisely entertained by an exceptional writer."
-Carla McKay, Daily Mail

"Like a Barbara Pym novel, though Joanna Trollope has a much stronger grasp than Pym on the tangled web of family life."
-The Times

"The portrayal of the petty frustrations of clerical life is spot on and the novel is elegantly written."
-Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"This is Trollope's finest novel to date. Prepare to be wittily and wisely entertained by an exceptional writer."
-Carla McKay, Daily Mail

"Like a Barbara Pym novel, though Joanna Trollope has a much stronger grasp than Pym on the tangled web of family life."
-The Times

"The portrayal of the petty frustrations of clerical life is spot on and the novel is elegantly written."
-Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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First Sentence
As usual, there were five of them on the village green, waiting for the school bus. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Her Best Dec 6 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having read just about all of Joanna Trollope's wonderful books, I have come to regard "The Rector's Wife" as her very best, for so many reasons.
For those of us who have ever felt the despair of knowing that love alone cannot save a marriage; for those of us who have been drawn into a loved-one's depression and cannot break free; and for any mother alive who has had a hurting, unpopular child--this book describes feelings that are impossible to put into words.
Anna Bouverie (yes, I see the parallel to Madame Bovary, but Anna has more soul) is the wife of a village rector. Her life is rigidly circumscribed by the expectations of her husband's parisioners. Thus, it is important that she head certain "rotas" (I love that word; British for "rotations," meaning committee members who take turns doing church chores). It is imperative that she appear impeccable in her clothing, her behavior, her mothering, and just about everything else. This is not easy, as her stolid, dogmatic husband Peter makes such a paltry living that their children have to wear parishioners' second-hand giveaways. In fact, the Bouveries are living in a kind of static hell, although nobody but poor, miserable schoolgirl Flora seems to realize it, and her perceptions are all about being a misfit in her horrid school.
Peter and Anna are sustained by a bright vision of the future: Peter hopes to be named archdeacon, which will change their circumstances considerably. The bitter loss of this hope is the catalyst that eventually destroys Peter--and sets Anna free.
As Peter sinks inexorably into a deep, surly depression, Anna's attempts to reach him, to connect as they did when their marriage was young, are angrily rebuffed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good characterization, no passion, poor ending Feb. 29 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Joanna Trollope developed the character of Anna beautifully. By the time she took her supermarket job, I was in love with her character. What drove me mad was that, for 200 pages, Ms. Trollope built an atmosphere of sexual tension. When Anna finally found "release", it was done hurriedly, in all of 2 paragraphs, and was dreadfully disappointing. I had followed this character through life-shattering trials, and was cheated in one clumsily written scene. Other reviewers have already pointed out the dissapointment of the ending, which convienently avoided a showdown between the two main characters over the central conflict of the book. Overall, I loved the character development and descriptions of country life, but hated the handling of love interests and the ending.
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4.0 out of 5 stars expanding her horizons Oct. 16 2000
By Krista
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The beautiful Anna Bouverie (echoes of Madame Bovary) has lived for twenty years as the wife a poorly paid rural rector and mother to their two children. Her half-hearted approach to tasks at church disappoints the meddlesome, but well-intentioned, ladies of the church committee.
When her husband is turned down for a much-needed promotion, Anna takes matters into her own hands. In order to raise money for her daughter's private school tuition and her son's road trip to India, Anna takes on a job at the local supermarket. To the consternation of the church ladies, the outrage of her husband, the embarrassment of her son, and her own personal delight, she keeps the job even after her money woes are lightened by the award of a scholarship to her daughter.
The job begins a broadening of Anna's perspective that extends beyond produce and canned goods. As she attracts both the notice and the desire of several men, she turns to one for the affection that is missing from her relationship with her husband.
Although it has its share of sadness and tragic turns, overall this is a story of personal growth and self discovery. Trollope's lucid prose and incisive characterizations make the book a pleasure to read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Escape from a Stifled Life June 15 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've been in a Joanna Trollope phase lately, having read "Other People's Children" and "Best of Friends" and loving them both. This earlier title did not appeal to me as much, although I enjoyed it more towards the end of the story. The other two titles seemed simpler and yet somehow more complete and less contrived. Perhaps its just the growth of the author's talents.
It did seem a bit much that suddenly, after living as the rector's wife for so many years, Anna was both fed up with her life and attracting the attention of multiple men. She barely interacted with Patrick, the rich city man who decides he's mad about her.
However, I did enjoy the descriptions of English country life and applauded Anna's meager attempts to break the ties that bound her. The fury over her taking a job at a supermarket is priceless. One of Trollope's strongest suits is the way all of her character's actions affect their entire families. As in life, all decisions have fallout, and Trollope is a master at making that clear. Not her best, but worth a read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A modern morality tale that rings true to life Dec 22 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I typically avoid contemporary British authors, finding them too provincial, or worse, cutesy for my American palate. I picked up "The Rector's Wife" because the title reminded me of one of my favorite movies, "The Bishop's Wife", not expecting to find between its modest paper covers, a modern literary classic. I have revisited Anna Bouverie and her world many times since, and I never find a word that rings false. In her creation of a modern English village, and a dying middle-class marriage, Joanna Trollope's aim is absolutely true. In Anna, Trollope creates a character that haunts the reader with her authenticity; she could be anyone's daughter, sister or friend putting a bright outward face on the wreck of a stifling marriage while soldiering bravely on. Although our sympathies lie with Anna, she is not always an easy person to like; her acid tongue and occasional temper tantrums bring a very human dimension to her character, which saves her from being merely a cardboard rendering of the blameless, wronged wife. I'm not sure Trollope would agree, but it seems to me that Anna brings a great deal of unhappiness upon herself by her tardy realization that she made a hasty marriage to a man who was utterly wrong for her. Faced with this knowledge, too late, she chooses a self-serving path. Because the story is mostly from Anna's point of view, her husband Peter comes out much the worse for it; he is seen through Anna's eyes as the instigator of all of her misery, even though he is also victimized in his own way by marriage to Anna, who turns out to be both much more and much less than he bargained for as his wife. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I don't know if I hate it or not - I'm waiting for the rest ...
I don't know if I hate it or not - I'm waiting for the rest of my damned order - which was placed in MAY
Published 2 months ago by Carol Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story!
This is story that keeps you interested -- I was amazed at how well the author captured the story of two people who really didn't know each other -- I have compassion for anyone... Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2002 by "sohotampachick"
5.0 out of 5 stars The tragic, yet triumphant blossoming of the dutiful wife...
of a village rector, who breaks out of her drab life, taking a job (horrors) in a supermarket to find a sense of self worth. Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2000 by Ruth A. Caldwell
4.0 out of 5 stars But what about Peter?
I just finished The Rector's Wife this evening, and while I can identify with Anna, I am very much wishing that Peter had had a chance at his own epiphany.
Published on July 13 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars Soap Opera in a Box
To her credit, Trollope does give us insight into the isolation and invisibility of the life of a rector's wife in a small town in England. Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely love this book!
All I can say is I love this book so much and have read it about five times. More than the story of a rector's wife, it's the story of a sensitive, caring woman trying to keep all... Read more
Published on June 8 1999 by Stephanie Cowell
5.0 out of 5 stars Speaks Directly To The Inner Person
I found this book uplifting beyond comment - although Anna's personal turmoil, her claustrophobic environment, and the tragedy of the story don't necessarily support the word... Read more
Published on Sept. 15 1998 by Kerri K
1.0 out of 5 stars A Mindless Read
What a waste of time! And I read the whole thing...why? Maybe because I wanted to see if it would get any better but it didn't, and I dislike giving up on a novel. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 1998
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