Top positive review
Elegant writing - closely observed
on 8 June 2017
This is a story of loss and regret as Mary, the rector's daughter of the title, grows up plain and virtually unwanted, sees the possibility of happiness, tastes it for a brief moment and then has to live without it. It is a well observed book about the real plight of some women in 1920s Britain who are required to live a life constrained by the expectations of others. In places I was reminded of Jane Austen in the close examination of lives lived in very small communities but, although elegantly written, it lacked the wit and humour of the Victorian novelist.
This is an excellent read and eye opening for those looking back at a very different world. It lacks hope, however, as Mary and other characters make the best of unfulfilled lives in narrow constraints. It is a book to be admired and to enjoy the excellent writing but it is not a book that will lift the spirits or make you feel better about life - and it is not designed to.