Customer Reviews


222 Reviews
5 star:
 (134)
4 star:
 (48)
3 star:
 (26)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 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 21 months ago by Lovely Treez

versus
6 of 6 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 11 months ago by superswimmer


‹ Previous | 1 223 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Gentle, 14 Nov 2012
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
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 centre of events, quietly engrossed in her task of cleaning but having a lasting effect on those who come in contact with her.

As the novel unfolds we gradually put together the pieces of Agnes' traumatic past, parts of which come back to haunt her. The supporting cast of locals are flawed, living, breathing individuals from the troubled, senile Abbe Bernard to the local gossiping widows Mmes Beck and Picot. Their stories intertwine with that of Agnes and we feel part of this small community.

This is a character-driven novel, exquisitely slow moving and beautifully written in a gentle, engaging style. It will probably also appeal to fans of the Chocolat series by Joanne Harris and the film Amelie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, thoughtful and engaging, 4 Oct 2012
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a beautifully written, thoughtful and engaging book. I enjoyed Miss Garnett's Angel many years ago and tried The Cleaner of Chartres on the strength of it. I was very happy that I had because I enjoyed it very much.

Salley Vickers is a marvellous storyteller and she very subtly creates very believable and recognisable characters, showing their inner lives with gentle penetration and, on the whole, great compassion. I found this aspect of the novel especially involving and her gently-painted psychological insights are what have lingered most strongly with me, and her portraits of aspects and origins of kindness and malice, of decency and selfishness, of humility and self-certainty and so on were very shrewd and delicately done.

Vickers also generates a wonderful sense of place, and the redemptive tale of Agnes, an orphan lost in the world and despised by some but finding her place among people who have come to respect and admire her is both captivating and wise in itself. There are notable similarities to Miss Garnett: the central character is a lonely woman who, without overtly searching, stumbles toward spiritual and personal fulfilment, the central setting is a cathedral where an ancient image is being restored and so on. Nevertheless, it works very well as a tale in its own right and I never felt I was being fobbed off with a re-hash.

You may get a flavour of the style from this: "The sun, shifting in its westward path, was already lighting the South Rose window and smudges of colour, refracted through the glass, were blessing the grey stone of the walls by the scaffolding that concealed the benign Blue Virgin." I found that, and a lot else in the book, extremely evocative and read it all with unalloyed pleasure and I recommend it very warmly - it's a really enjoyable read which will stay with me for a long time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Saunter round a cathedral... some lovely language., 1 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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 holy fool type, put them in a small community, let them encounter everyone in the village... so I've found this harder to get excited about even though there are many flashes of wonderful writing. Some of it is just facts about Chartres Cathedral, and I felt there wasn't much driving the plot which in fact at the end peters out rather as if the author wasn't sure where to go with it. She made the cleaner so enigmatic it was hard to be as concerned about her as I needed to be to get fully involved. A very good novel though and I'm sure many people love it. I should have reviewed Miss Garnet at the time so will do that now!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bland And Shallow, 1 Oct 2013
By 
On the plus side this novel is very clearly and cleanly written, on the minus side it's more like a novelized screenplay than a novel.

People and scenes were very simply described, with some background information and hints of inner life, but no author voice, nothing genuinely illuminating or exciting. The story is hackneyed; the last 'love dialogue' is not only woeful, but insulting - as if 'problems' (I won't give away the plot) can be cured by a good shag. The characters are like cast-offs from 'Chocolat', I'm only amazed a sweet shop wasn't at the heart of the book rather than a cathedral.

I read to the end - but I wouldn't have started if I'd known it was going to be a quick rattle through a few melodramatic cliches - with no great final pay-off.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A notch above Chic Lit, 14 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This inspired quite a lot of controversy (good!) in our book group with quite varying views. I myself was quite bored for the first quarter or third of the book and may not have continued if it hadnt been a book group choice. It did gather momentum after that but I found the writing style condescending and the characterizations one-dimensional although there were a couple of pantomime dames to provide amusement.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bringing Chartres to life - a great read!, 28 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A wonderful combination of history and fiction about a place that is accessible to us today. I was in the cathedral for vespers on Sunday and finished reading the book today - I walked with Vickers' characters, felt there sorrows and joys and could see their dramas play out. I thoroughly recommend this book wherever you are.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 23 Aug 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Found this very disappointing and I really had to force myself to finish it. Loved author's other books, especially Miss Garnet's Angel - really don't understand why the latter book has been compared with this new one which I found shallow, scrappy and unconvincing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 24 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was the first Salley Vickers book I read, and I'm now a fan. The cleaner, Agnes, is something of a mystery - she's very capable and obliging, but is there some dark secret in her past? Certainly one or two of the residents of Chartres seem to think so, and they set out to establish her guilt. Salley Vickers has a knack for describing our all too human frailties as well as our redeeming qualities. This was a fascinating tale, and I'm so glad I discovered Salley Vickers by reading it. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For me a somewhat simple story, that lacked a point..., 24 Nov 2012
By 
DebB (Oxfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Hmmm, much has been written so I'll be brief...
I found this a rather simplistic, and pointless story really. I had no real trouble finishing it, but I didn't find myself making time to read just a bit more
Our heroine suffers much, there are a few cardboard baddies - the nasty nun and the horrid Madame Beck, some saints - the Abbe and, I suppose, Alain, and some in betweens. For some characters we had a lot of their internal musings and so could create more of an image of who they are, (Dr Deman, for example) but for others we had none. I have no idea what Alain thought of anything, or why he was where he was, or where he came from.
The book develops slowly and initially, intriguingly, with this reader wondering what the mystery of the Cleaner of Chatres was going to be, and then, suddenly, whoof and it's over, with a little epilogue briskly accounting for the next decade or so. Nice people get nice endings, the baddies are, if not defeated exactly, then left in their badness.
It's a story, with a jump-about timeline and very predictable ending - maybe I missed the point?
Oh, and if you're interested in Chatres cathedral, this contains large chunks of guide book detail - take it on a trip there and explore with it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fairy tale for today....., 10 Jan 2013
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is something magical and mysterious about Chartres Cathedral so it makes a wonderful setting for Salley Vickers' latest book. The Cleaner of Chartres tells the story of Agnès Morel. She seemed to appear from nowhere, with no history, no possessions and no friends. In the following twenty years or so she has remained in Chartres and has taken on the role of cleaner of the cathedral as well as also working intermittently in a café, as a babysitter and as a cleaner of peoples' houses. She is calm and gentle and rarely speaks of her past.

Her presence intrigues and fascinates and she has a profound effect on many who regard her with great affection. But not all the town's inhabitants are so benign and there are some spiteful gossips who resent her and are determined to find out the truth about her background.

Salley Vickers has written a sort of fairy tale. Agnès is the innocent at the heart of the story - found in a basket and raised by nuns. There are good fairies (some of the nuns, the friends she meets in Chartres, the Abbé Paul and her "foster father" Jean Dupère) and there are bad fairies (some of the nuns, Mesdames Beck and Picot). There are even several handsome princes. But, like all good fairy stories, this one has some real darkness at it heart.

So, does everything work out for Agnès in the end? Well, as Salley Vickers says "There are no true endings..."

A lovely book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 223 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews