Thursday, November 14, 2013

Patricia Gaffney - To Love and to Cherish

Anne Verlaine's four year marriage to Geoffrey, Lord D'Aubrey, was a living hell. Her only comfort was her lovely new home--the village of Wyckerley in the heart of Devonshire. And even more irresistible was her attraction to Christian Morrell, "Christy," the vicar of All Saints Church. He looked like an archangel, his strength something palpable, his golden-haired handsomeness a source of light in her dark life.
Anne's husband had once been Christy's closest friend, but war and life had scarred Geoffrey inside and out. Now he was going to leave her behind in Wyckerley, with the shocking truth of their marriage still hidden as deeply as his dangerous plans. Anne had no right to want Christy to love her, and no choice but to need him, even though she risked his ruin...and her own. But he was everything to her. She would defy this world for him...and the next.

Comment: I've read a long time ago how a certain book by this author was one of the best romances out there. Naturally I was curious and wrote it down. Later, when I investigated that title I saw it was part of a trilogy, namely the second. So, I told myself I'd follow the "rules" and read things in order. I got the trilogy eventually and it has been in the pile for a long time. This month I've decided to read the first one to see if I wanted to keep reading. I do and next year I'll read the following two (December is full).

This is the story of Anne Verlaine, she's married to Geoffrey but their marriage isn't a good one. When Geoffrey's father dies, they come to Wyckerley to Geoffrey's estate. It's there Anne meets her husband's childhood friend, Christy, who is also the reverend. After Geoffrey goes to war, Anne and Christy get closer and get to know each other. A seduction starts between them until the day things can no longer be the same...

This story didn't dazzle me as much as I hoped for. I now it's very well liked by many readers and I expected something out of this world, but after finishing the book, despite the usual time spent thinking about it, I realized I wasn't as marveled by this as I imagined. Once again, taste is personal and despite seeing the beauty of the story I was a bit immune to it in the end.

At first I was a bit put off by the idea of  Anne and Christy. Not that they didn't deserve some happiness, in particular Christy, such a humble and beautiful character...but I don't tend to care much for aggressive heroines and although Anne isn't the worst I've read about, I still wished she would be a bit more sedate in her actions. I mean she doesn't do anything improper but added to her inner thoughts, I came to see her through that light. I'm exaggerating perhaps, but that's how I started seeing her and it was hard not to.
Christy seemed to good to be true...his faults weren't exactly faults so there was nothing in him I'd change, especially because I liked how good sense he had, he wasn't careless or improper either, he didn't let his emotions get the best of him and he didn't act without thinking. All these things didn't make him look less of a man or a hero, in fact I appreciated these qualities a lot. I thin in this, their relationship had balance. Anne was more impetuous in a way, and Christy calmer.
Their romance ended up being quite good, not without challenges and surprises, but then it wouldn't be as thrilling. I have to confess I didn't see coming a thing or two, despite having that feeling that things were being too good to let the guard down and I feared when the characters had to deal with the setbacks. Still, I was more than happy with the end, and not without a bit regret by how some things worked out.

The story offered quite the thoughtful twists. Things aren't as easy as they look and it was quite the lesson to see how we can act when we think we have all the knowledge on our side. Sometimes life surprises us and for me, it was quite interesting to see how surprises made me thin about the story and the actions on it.
On a curious note, I always find interesting how reverends can be romantic heroes...being a roman catholic myself and used to priests being celibate, this is always so fun to watch...

In the end, this story wasn't as amazing as I pictured it in my head, but I wasn't unhappy either. Meeting expectations is always a hard game for a reader, we all know things don't always work out in a perfect way, but all things considered, this romance was good, offered interesting scenes and did leave me curious about the ones to come.
Grade: 7/10

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