A Book for All Seasons

The Mysteries of Glass by Sue Gee

A perfect book to read in wintertime; that was my first observation about this book, since it began in December. But then, as the seasons progressed in the story, I thought: What a perfect summertime book. Because the author is brilliant at evoking a scene.

I often avoid historical fiction (not sure why), but this story crept up on me slowly and pulled me in. In 1860, Richard, a painfully young new curate, arrives at his first posting at a country church in his native England, and he promptly falls in love with the vicar’s young wife. In the first part of the book, the author skillfully interweaves flashbacks into the narrative, without our hardly realizing it, and so we learn the story of Richard’s earlier years. It is charming to read of Richard’s settling in to his new home, serving a country church, and becoming part of this small community. And it is agony to read of his growing adoration of Susannah, the vicar’s wife. Even as she begins to return his long glances and he feels reason to hope she might feel something for him, they are both terribly aware of their roles and their commitments. And it is agony to watch as the vicar’s health deteriorates, and it eventually becomes evident that he is dying; and the poor man also realizes that he may also be losing his wife’s love.

Thanks to “A Work in Progress” blogger, where the short version of your review provided just enough information to entice me to give this historical novel a try. I’m so glad I did.

3 thoughts on “A Book for All Seasons

  1. So glad you liked this! It was a beautiful story and one I think that would appeal to readers who aren't necessarily into historical fiction. I think Gee was more interested in telling her story and it just happened to be set in the Victorian era. I want to read another of her books but am afraid they won't compare to this one!

  2. Danielle,
    I think you've just identified why I liked the book so much — it happened to be set in an earlier era, but the storyline and the characters really stole the show. If you read another Gee book, please let us know how it goes!

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