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The Rector's Wife

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  2,403 Ratings  ·  138 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
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Published July 2nd 1992 by Black Swan (first published 1991)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Julian Lees
Mar 17, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Slow and completely forgettable.
Colleen
Jul 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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!).
Antoinette Buchanan
Dear heaven what a hideous bunch. Wanted to smack the lot of them.
Sherry
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Patti
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have finished "The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope.

A critique from the Boston Globe says it all quite eloquently. ....."Trollope easily conjures the inexorable, real, familiar and the piling on of details that make up what we call Life". She goes on to say that "Anna is an appealing heronie..the secondary characters are distinct, quirky and memorable.....the children, housekeepers, parishoners and in-laws add richness and charm to the tale".

I had difficulty starting this story, but soon was d
...more
Louis
Oct 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sally
Aug 15, 2012 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!
Ali Schultz
As someone who was raised Catholic, stories about the families of clergy have always fascinated me in their foreignness. The matters of the balance of familial commitment and commitment to a congregation, the pressures on the members who have not made this decision for themselves but instead been carried on in a spouse or parent's wake, etc. This book didn't really capture me on those terms, however, and it was quite slow without really offering much to compensate for this lack of pace. I would ...more
Linda
I didn't finish it, it just didn't hold my interest. Maybe because I just finished a magnificent Monica McInerney book perhaps??
Mary
Jun 30, 2012 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
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dana
Feb 11, 2012 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
Hazel
Mar 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sheri
Dec 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Stef Rozitis
"Why was it that she was made to feel that her claims had no validity, that her existance was only permitted by everyone as long as it remained relative? How did people, Anna cried to herself, how did people get to be primary people - the ones who made others relative? And why, if you picked up a different burden, was it then assumed that you loved your burden and would gladly carry it for ever and ever..."

These questions are not new. Women's experiences within narrowly heterosexual, traditional
...more
Erin
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if it's an English thing, or a CoE thing, or just a 21st century thing, but the star of this novel didn't seem to have any moral or religious objection to having an affair.

That being said, it's nice to see the progress of the Romance Novel from a sad woman being swept up by a rich, wealthy man & taken someplace happy, to a frustrated woman finding ways to push against restrictions. Her salvation still isn't entirely self-made, which is convenient, but she isn't counting on love
...more
Tracie Stokka
Written in the early 1990's, this book remains timely if a bit dated in reference to things like technology. Although it has probably gotten better, Rector's wives still tend to be thought of as 2 for 1 laborers in their husbands' churches. Interestingly, the mainstream Protestant churches that now have female You ministers and priests don't tend to look on male spouses with the same expectations. Also, interestingly enough, the one secular husband in this book who has the "supporting role" in h ...more
Nilanga
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know most readers thought this book was kind of slow.But I loved it Growing up I too was a member of the Church of England, and many times went to the rectory after Sunday's school. I have fond memories of the Priests who served in our little church and their wives. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and looking forward to reading more books from the author.
Dee
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did she marry the man and his vocation, or is it ever possible to separate the two? A lovely exploration of the dilemma faced by Anna Bouverie and the joys - or otherwise - of rural parish life.......
Fran
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Margot
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heerlijk boek om de geestelijke strijd en besluitvaardigheid van een geēmancipeerde en hoogopgeleide predikantenvrouw in een bekrompen plattelandsgemeente te volgen. Happy ending! 😊
B.
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
3.5 stars
pam wren
Took me away from the election so it met the requirement
Ivy Weston
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Linda
Apr 24, 2013 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
Dana
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Julia
Nov 15, 2010 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
Michelle
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
Elizabeth Alger
THERE IS A GLARING ERROR IN THIS BOOK - WHY HASN'T ANYONE ELSE NOTICED IT? My book club read The Rector's Wife this month and I was astonished that I was the only one to have noticed the mistake. Are people all half asleep while they're reading? In the last two or three chapters Anna is seen driving around the village and elsewhere in a carefree mood: "It was curious and exciting to drive so much, to feel that the car was hers to drive." Now, we have to presume that "the car" is the same car her ...more
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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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“She marched to the door and said, "if I ever marry, Patrick O'Sullivan, I shall make sure that my mate for life is a decent woman, or even, maybe, a book.” 0 likes
“We all overlay our feelings with too much thinking. We are afraid of our feelings because they are arbitrary and volatile, and we often need literature to make our feelings intelligible to us, to make us see that our reaction to what we can't choose and what we can is what shapes our lives.” 0 likes
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