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20 Books for Christmas Review #2: A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

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My Interest

I’m trying to holly-jolly myself into the Christmas spirit, so I decided I’d read some nice Christmas stories. Plus, a “vicarage” sounds so classy, so “Escape to the Country.” An Aga-saga! (There is an Aga–of course there is? Where would Charlie’s basket go. The has to be an Aga). And Charlie? He has to a Lab.

Map showing Cumbria. Aga photo from Aga twitter

The Story

The Holley sisters (don’t go there, just don’t–it’s a Christmas novel, ignore it) all have Biblical names (well, of course they do! Their father is a Vicar! Ignore it). The four sisters are all done with school and in their early to late twenties. Anna is a “legal librarian” (in all my years as a real life law librarian in real life law firms, I was never called a “legal librarian” since it connotes there being an “illegal librarian,” but what do I know?) back home in Manchester. Now she is home to the village of Thornthwait for Christmas for the first time in about a decade. Her parents promise “big announcements.” 

While escaping most of the parishgathered in her parents living room busy Hoovering up the minced pies (which I’ve never tasted) and the mulled wine (so wildly different than so many American churches –especially those who gave us Prohibition back in the 1920s) she meats a decent guy when she seeks refuge in a local pub (ditto–very different from some of the American clergy families who’d be run out of town for that). He “gets” her and her whole social anxiety thing. He gets it. In fact, he likes her. You couldn’t say “love at first sight,” but maybe, just maybe there’s a chance??? [No spoliers]. Even more remarkable, she likes him, too. His lopsided smile. (But, why does she keep biting her lip? I picture a blood bath, but I think it’s supposedly endearing?)

The next day Anna learns this great guy, Simon is his name, is the new Curate (aka Assistant Pastor) in her father’s parish (aka Church). What should she do?

My Thoughts

I loved this little book! Not only was religion treated with decency and belief not scoffed at, but becoming an Anglican Priest (minister who can be married–not a Catholic Priest) was treated as the respectful, decent, helping profession the clergy truly is. Not one red state-ish joke or GOP-reference (of course the book IS set in Cumbria in the UK (“England” to Americans) but still. I’ve grown so used to Christianity being seen as evil and phobic that it was a joy to read this.

I liked Anna’s very real-world personality, too. In her late 20’s she does not have double-digit “intimate” partners or 5 former live-in boyfriends, but nor is she a prude, a Judger, or anything else. Not a falunted purity ring to be found. She’s a wonderfully normal woman with a career and, of course, some secrets. Simon, too, has not spent his 20’s hopping in and out of bed with strangers or near-strangers. He even owns his privilidge appologizes for going to a public school (i.e. private prep school) reassuring Anna it was a day school. He, too, has secrets beyond just being her Dad’s new youth group wrangler (or whatever curates are stuck doing in the UK).

I loved that her Mom loved what she did all those years as a clergy wife. I loved the sister’s confession, I loved Charlies lazy woofs and thumping tale! I’d love to know this family. Thank goodness it is a series! I will be tuning in for more.

My Verdict

My other #20BooksForChristmas reviews:

Book # 1 A Mackenzie Yuletide by Jennifer Ashley

8 thoughts on “20 Books for Christmas Review #2: A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

  1. That does sound a fun one – and I enjoyed seeing one of these classic British light novels through more distant eyes! I’ve got a few of these to read in December, although some came over from last December when I didn’t get them read, so I’ll start earlier this time!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t read much in late November and December. I guess I’m just too busy with Christmas stuff. I do manage to read the daily newspaper though. I enjoyed this post but sorry to hear about the job. As talented as you are, I’m sure it won’t be a problem much longer though.

    Liked by 1 person

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