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234 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Gentle
Redemption and self-discovery are recurrent themes in Salley Vickers' writing and she tackles the same subjects here in The Cleaner of Chartres. The central hub of the story is the ancient cathedral of Chartres which attracts a wide range of visitors, each one seeking something different to fulfil their incomplete lives. Agnes Morel is the enigmatic young woman at the...
Published on 14 Nov 2012 by Lovely Treez

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Saunter round a cathedral... some lovely language.
Having been blown away by Miss Garnet's Angel and Falling Backwards some years ago, I've just read this because it was my book group's book this month. Unfortunately I'd just read Mr Golightly, which I'd found wonderfully written but a bit meandering and padded - and this book is written on a very similar model, almost a suspicion of a formula. Take one misfit outsider, a...
Published 15 months ago by QuantumSheep


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4.0 out of 5 stars A modern Fairy tale:, 21 Jun 2013
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Salley Vickers at her best. Her characters are real and Chartres Cathedral are so beautifully described it makes one want to re-visit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story, 20 Jun 2013
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Anne (Drumshanbo, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cleaner of Chartres (Hardcover)
This is a totally engaging and heart warming novel. It is very evocative of place. Reading it was a delight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, 20 Jun 2013
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A wonderful book which I can't recommend highly enough. I love Sally Vickers novels and this one didn't disappoint. Read it at once!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Cleaner of Chartres, 8 Oct 2012
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Cleaner of Chartres (Hardcover)
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I have read some of Salley Vickers' other novels and found a few I liked and some I couldn't get on with at all. The Cleaner of Chartres is one of the really good ones in my opinion. I read it over the space of a couple of days and loved the writing, the characters and the background. Agnes Morel is an orphan. She was found as a new born baby in a basket in a wood and handed over to nuns. After a childhood which was fraught with problems, including a stay in a psychiatric hospital she eventually ends up homeless in Chartres - sleeping in the cathedral doorway on her first night there.

Gradually the story of Agnes' previous life is revealed as the reader gets to know about her present life and the people around her. There is the eccentric Professor Jones, the artist Robert Clement, the two wealthy ladies who thrive on gossip, scandal and thinking ill of their neighbours and the clergy at the cathedral - Father Paul and Father Bernard. Agnes can neither read nor write but she manages to make herself indispensible to the cathedral and to the people who live near it by doing cleaning jobs, including at the cathedral itself.

This is not just a book about everyday life. There is interesting historical, mythical and religious information woven into the text. The writing is understated and subtle and the book will repay more than one reading to appreciate all the nuances. There are amusing incidents and there are poignant incidents as well as tragedies. The characters are believable and carefully delineated and I loved the dialogue. I recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sally Vickers at her best, 2 Nov 2014
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A slow start to this tale, but it blossomed into a gripping tale. I loved the descriptions of the buildings, especially the Cathedral of Chartres. I felt a attraction towards the characters. They had their flaws, but this made them more realistic. I shall be reading this again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 9 Aug 2014
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Waited ages for the price to come down after publication but not disappointed in the end. Salley Vickers perceptive observations of human nature make her always a satisfying read. Highly recommended
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing, 19 Nov 2012
By 
B. Innes "Mtoto" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cleaner of Chartres (Hardcover)
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I'm a big fan of Salley Vickers but do not think this is her best novel.

- It's melodramatic and disconnected and lacks that lightness of touch in the earlier novels
- The heroine suffers vicissitude after vicissitude yet still remains boring rather than enigmatic
- Characters are either black or white with little in the way of shading
- The action moves backwards and forwards in time in a manner that does not
add to the telling of the story
- It feels as if she came up against a promised delivery date and had to scramble towards an ending as fast as she could
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, 18 Jun 2013
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I'd recommend this book to anybody who loves Chartres cathedral. The book has been divided into chapters corresponding to towns not charaters and it uses s non linear narrative, which adds to the interest and the suspense. I enjoyed the characters description though I found Agnes' s a slightly non probable character.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The cleaner of Chartres, 28 Jan 2013
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equal to "Miss Garnet's Angel" a super read with wonderful characters. Having visited Chartres I could visualise the cathedral and the town.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Salley Vicker's best!, 22 Jan 2013
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Loved the description of the cathedral of Notre Dame and the clergy and laypeople involved in the life and work of this beautiful building.It took me a while to work out that we were moving backwards and forwards in the life of Agnes, but once I mastered that I found it hard to ration myself as the story moved on. Some beautiful and sad moments and some charaters to 'hate' for their treatment of this 'fey' girl, but equally some very moving moments with Dean Paul and Alain.
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The Cleaner of Chartres
The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers (Hardcover - 1 Nov 2012)
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