Thursday, 11 February 2010

The curate's wife (Young) 178

The curate's wife by Young is actually a companion to another one of Young's novels, Jenny Wren, which I have not yet read, but although the character of Jenny crops up in The curate's wife, I did not feel that I suffered from not having read Jenny Wren, even though it was written first.

EH Young is definitely an amusing writer, and I found this book entertaining. it is the tale of Dahlia and Cecil Sproat, recently married. Cecil is a curate, and deeply in love with Dahlia. Dahlia on the other hand has principally chosen marriage as an escape from her stepfather. Dahlia finds it extremely difficult to fit into the role of Curate's Wife, partly because she doesn't ascribe to the church beliefs, and partly because her previous experiences are just so different to those needed in the village. I was amused by the description of the fete, where with some reluctance Dahlia dresses up with the other women acting as stallholders as shepherdesses. It becomes obvious that Cecil and Dahlia will never have a romantic marriage; Dahlia takes some satisfaction from the attentions of an admirer, and then after her sister Jenny comes to live with them, lives out her hopes for romance through Jenny's involvement with local men.

Published just once by Virago in an original green edition, I feel that this title fits into a theme in the titles of Virago novels - [some male profession]'s [some female relative]

* The rector's daughter
* The vicar's daughter
* The squire's daughter
* Her son's wife
* The pastor's wife

Can you think of any other VMC titles in this category?

I've also read The Vicar's Daughter, before this project started, and here is its cover:


  1. The Vet's Daughter comes to mind! I've read Jenny Wren, and Dahlia was very much in the background, so I imagine this woukld stand well alone. Though of course you may be able to predict element's of Jenny's story from this one when you come to it - but it's a good enough book for that to not really matter.

  2. Oh I'm glad you can read this separately from Jenny Wren, as I've left it languishing on my shelf for years now, waiting for its prequel to be found and it never has been! I am relieved to see I can read it independently. It sounds good!

  3. Love the premise of this blog. It looks as though I have some catching up to do to read your prior posts. Can't wait to follow the remainder of your venture. How many did Virago publish total?

  4. Jane - well done, that was one I've read but forgotten about! I'm lookiong forward to reading the first one.

    Rachel - do read it, it's a lovely book.

    The lit witch - thanks for stopping by! There are over 550 VMCs now, and they're still adding to them, so it's a big project. I'm about 1/3 way through I think.