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The Rector's Wife

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  2,182 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Anna Bouverie is the rector's wife. She irons his surplices (badly), delivers the parish newsletter, and scrimps to get by on a pittance, all the while keeping up appearances. She rarely complains and rarely rebels. But now-as she watches her children do without, as her husband withdraws further into his work, and her frustration mounts into fury-Anna realizes that she's w ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 15th 1999 by Berkley Trade (first published 1991)
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Julian Lees
Mar 17, 2015 Julian Lees rated it did not like it
Slow and completely forgettable.
Jul 03, 2009 Colleen rated it it was ok
This novel was well-written, a good study of the woman's predicament, but it was depressing because I could see where it was headed. She needed a savior, a real experience with God, but that never happened. I didn't like the two deus ex machina interventions where sudden things happened out of the blue to change the story in ways I won't disclose (don't want to spoil the story, in the event someone would want to read it after this review!).
Nov 28, 2011 Sherry rated it really liked it
This was the first book I read by Joanna Trollope and I immediately became a fan. She writes clear, beautifully drawn characters in believable situations.
Aug 15, 2012 Sally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely book filled with housewifely angst and emotional growth, while her rector-husband seems to be going the other way. Very well written and lively, a real page-turner, but the ending seemed a bit predictable and manipulated. Overall, a good read!
Oct 25, 2013 Louis rated it liked it
I read this book in paperback format for a book club.

I had read one other book, "Other people's children", by this author. I found that book to be intriguing. What I appreciated was the unflinching way that the author made her characters face obstacles for which sometimes there were no happy-ever-after endings.

In this book, Anna is the wife of Peter, the rector, in a small English village. As a rector's wife, she is supposed to be beyond reproach and dedicated to her husband. Anna finds herself
Sep 30, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
For the past two decades, the Bouveries have served God and their parish in a myriad of ways. As minister of his congregation, Peter Bouverie has always written such powerful sermons, preached to the faithful, and counselled so many troubled couples. Everyone in the tiny parish of Loxford also knows of the rector's wife Anna - she is so dutiful, organized, prayerful, and self-possessed. In fact, Anna Bouverie is nothing if not absolutely perfect for the position - she is the quintessential minis ...more
Lisa of Hopewell
Oct 11, 2013 Lisa of Hopewell rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Excellent. I can truly feel Anna's life. The satirical aspects are dead on. Wow!! This book resonated with me!!! Anna Bouverie is the frustrated wife of the local Rector of small parish church in rural England. It is a modern-day story (well, 1990s or so--no cell phones!!) and one that I imagine pastor's wives the world over would find familiar. When the continual giving and smiling and sacrificing begins to way like a huge stone on her chest, when her once beloved husband seems to see her only ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am reading every book Trollope has ever written, as if i were taking a class studying her works from early to late. LOVE her, though some of her books are stronger than others. This one was good, not great. It was loosely based on Madame Bovary, by Flaubert. There was a shocking event towards the end, which I thought was unnecessary and a bit far fetched, and led to too tidy and ending, but I am not sorry I read the book. It seemed dated to me, not because it was written 20 years ago, but beca ...more
Dec 15, 2009 Sheri rated it liked it
I actually got the movie first and something was wrong so I couldn't see the end so I got the book. Lovely English countryside setting and the rector's wife is not very content with her domineering husband and the disapproval of most of the women of the church congregation for one reason or another.
It was a character filled book and the story was interesting. Good writing and I'd read another book by this author.
Donna Girouard
Aug 11, 2014 Donna Girouard rated it liked it
The story takes an unexpected turn. One thing that is typical though, is how Peter blames his wife's affair for the deterioration of their marriage instead of acknowledging that the deterioration of the marriage (chiefly due to his stubbornness and emotional abandonment of his wife) caused the affair.
Antoinette Buchanan
Jun 20, 2014 Antoinette Buchanan rated it it was ok
Dear heaven what a hideous bunch. Wanted to smack the lot of them.
Dec 31, 2016 Donna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was by far the worst novel I've read this year. I was expecting a comforting story, filled with domestic details of a Britain in the recent past, at least that's what I thought a so called "Aga Saga" meant. This novel was depressing, sad, filled with marital discord, adultery, a bullied child, depression, sudden death etc and not at all what I wanted to read.
Ich habe das Buch nach ca. 50 Seiten abgebrochen. Es war nicht schlecht geschrieben, aber die Geschichte um die Pfarrersfrau, die sich 'emanzipiert', wie es im Klappentext angedeutet wird, hat mich nicht sonderlich interessiert. Ich habe dann noch vorgeblättert, wie es ausgeht. Ich glaube, ich habe nichts verpasst.
James Lang
Jan 02, 2017 James Lang rated it liked it
Quiet little read that I found up on a old bookshelf; started it on New Year's Day and finished it the next afternoon. Nice descriptions of a small English town and the struggle for independence of the rector's wife. Easy and pleasurable read, but the ending felt contrived to me.
Dec 14, 2016 Fran rated it liked it
Highly recommended by my high school English teacher. I always wondered what she read. I agree Trollope is a good writer but the story is too improbable to get a high rating from me.
pam wren
Dec 20, 2016 pam wren rated it liked it
Took me away from the election so it met the requirement
Oct 15, 2016 Anna-Sofie rated it liked it
This is a beautiful book, crystal clear in its prose - and its portrait of a woman, who suddenly realises she's in the middle of life, and so far only did what was expected of her without considering her own heart or will.
Being a priest myself, I could relate to the satirical tone in the description of church and parishoners, and their expectations.
The book is quiet though, and even Anna's rebellion is quiet - of course this may be more true to reality, but somehow it never came to a full redem
Ivy Weston
Apr 06, 2011 Ivy Weston rated it really liked it
My mom recommended this book, which made me nervous ... my mom sometimes likes really cozy women's fiction books, which is fine, but sometimes they veer from the cozy into another word that begins with c -- cheesy. But I must say I really liked this book. Trollope, a distant relative of the esteemed author Anthony Trollope (long dead), writes engagingly and has a great sense of humor and irony, somewhat like Jane Austen. But another classic author comes to mind when reading this book: Gustave Fl ...more
Apr 28, 2013 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Anna Bouverie’s rebellion against her life of trying to be all things to all people in her husband’s small rural parish in England. The family ekes out a living on Peter Bouverie’s pitiful salary while Anna feels unfulfilled as a wife and mother and also assumes many duties that the parish women seem to expect of her. Things come to a head when Peter is overlooked for a promotion to archdeacon and he becomes increasingly depressed and bitter. Their daughter Flora hates her ...more
Feb 19, 2012 Dana rated it liked it
The Rector's Wife, by Joanna Trollope:I am reading every book Trollope has ever written, as if i were taking a class studying her works from early to late. LOVE her, though some of her books are stronger than others. This one was good, not great. It was loosely based on Madame Bovary, by Flaubert. There was a shocking event towards the end, which I thought was unnecessary and a bit far fetched, and led to too tidy and ending, but I am not sorry I read the book. It seemed dated to me, not because ...more
Nov 20, 2010 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
British Lit, written in 1991. Anna Bouverie is the Rector's wife. She's a resourceful woman, but in truth, they are barely gettng by on the pittance that the church pays her husband. She is not normally a complainer, but recently she is becoming more dissatisfied as she sees her children doing without things they really want in order to fit in. At the same time Anna's husband is retreating further into his work. Sounds like midlife crisis for both of them. Anna takes a job at the local grocer to ...more
Young women today have access to feminist role models who help them challenge their life and career choices at earlier and earlier ages. When I read this book I was 31 and happy with my then-career choice, at home in a traditionally configured family raising two small children. I had made this choice after post-secondary education and with a plethora of options available to me. But I couldn't help wondering about the priest's wife in this book, Anna Bouverie, who was only beginning to question h ...more
Jun 02, 2013 Hazel rated it did not like it
Well this novel was just "Blah". It reminded me a lot of The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling (see review Here). It was quite a dull story, full of dull characters that did not give me any enjoyment whatsoever! Why did I finish it then? Well, I kept thinking that there was going to be great, big twist that would make it worthwhile to read. Sadly, I got to the end without anything worthwhile happening.

I am also struggling to give a lot of praise to the author. Her style was also "Blah" and had no rea
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Rector's Wife' is one of the most thought-provoking and best-written of Joanna Trollope's books, 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 i ...more
Nov 26, 2010 Em rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book though it took me more than two months, as I read it only during meal times, and then I was constantly misplacing it somewhere or the other. This is a really gripping story about a rector, who has become disillusioned with life, love and his duties and his lively wife, who wants to enjoy the little pleasures of life and who is striving to regain her husband's love and affection and is trying to change him from the pessimistic, passive man he has turned into ove ...more
This was really a 2.5 star book. It was a nice story but the characters were generally irritating! The rector is smug and so busy doing good for the village that he doesn't have time for his wife. His wife after doing the right thing for the daughter and changing schools is full of self pity. She probably wasn't right for him in the first place and certainly seems to be having some type of mid-life crises which all her kids seem to think is ok. I especially liked both the Mothers who she had a g ...more
A pleasure to read, like most of Joanna Trollope's books, filled with insight into family and marriage and how people interact with each other. The plot is yanked into place at some crucial points in ways that feel rather convenient and manipulative; people arrive and things happen because the plot needs them to arrive and happen. Having painted Anna into a corner, Trollope is not too sure how to get her out, and she's really not sure what to do with Peter, because his corner is even more tightl ...more
Jan 03, 2014 Tamara rated it it was ok
Hmmm, thumbs down from me. I picked this book as a summer read after reading loads of positive reviews. I'm usually into heavier literature but with 3 small kids I wasn't keen to take on a booker prize-type book right now. I wanted a page turner and thought this would be it. Sadly I found this slow, dull and concerned with daily drudgery. It seemed dead obvious from the first few pages that her marriage was over yet it took the whole novel for her to realise. I also found the characters quite on ...more
Angela Montgomery
A little disappointing. I suppose it is a reasonable presentation of the frustrations of being a semi-housewife, but it seems ridiculous that wanting the outside stimulation of a job would be so shocking. I'm not sure when this was written. It reads like something from the 70s. The romance is also tepid and unbelievable. This is the 2nd modern British author (the other being P. D. James) where a protagonist claims he is in love with someone whom he has known (casually, not even dating) for 1-2 w ...more
Jonnie Comet
Oct 29, 2011 Jonnie Comet rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, anglophiles, Christians, spouses, mothers, clergy
Recommended to Jonnie by: BBC TV
Excellent slice of middle-class British life; good view of village life the way it 'really' is; sad plotline but really is probably for the best. The villains are not whom you think they'll be; nor are the heroes. Recalling the A&E video, which I experienced first, it was dead to the book; but the book is a rewarding experience all its own and I'd recommend the book before the video.

Watch for the absolutely correct Anglican teachings of David and the way poor Anna has to learn it all the har
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Joanna Trollope Potter Curteis (aka Caroline Harvey)

Joanna Trollope was born on 9 December 1943 in her grandfather's rectory in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, England, daughter of Rosemary Hodson and Arthur George Cecil Trollope. She is the eldest of three siblings. She is a fifth-generation niece of the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope and is a cousin of the writer and broadcaster James Trol
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