Learn more Download now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more



HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 16 April 2017
Born Mary Annette Beauchamp, but better known to us as Elizabeth von Arnim she led quite an eventful life, but it is her novels that have kept her name known amongst us. This particular novel was first published in 1914 and is an enjoyable read.

Here we meet Ingeborg, daughter of the Bishop of Redchester and we follow her as she grows up into a wife and a mother. It starts with toothache and her being sent to London to have it dealt with, all by herself. Finding that it is an easy operation and having cash in her pocket, and not wanting to rush back home, so she takes herself off on a trip to Lucerne. Here though she finds herself becoming embroiled with an East Prussian pastor, who decides that he wants to marry her.

As we see Ingeborg’s life definitely alters after this. It is interesting to see how her family react, with her father most put out as he relies on her to do all his clerical work. With a heroine here then who is put upon at home, has no real close friends and is in many ways isolated, how will she feel in a foreign country, where she can’t even speak the language?

For us Ingeborg seems at times to be too naive and for some the situations she faces are perhaps dated, but for a lot of women at the time to escape drudgery at home didn’t necessarily mean that they would make ideal marriages, and thus they would find themselves still in despair. We watch her then go through childbirth and watch as so many did a number of her children die early, as well as seeing her once again isolated and very much alone, a stranger in a strange land.

There is quite a bit of comedy here and chances are at times you will find yourself laughing out loud, as well as at other times despairing at the heroine as well as rooting for her. In all this is a woman brought up to serve and obey, and as with many others of the period to do something different and want to be more active meant that they were considered at best eccentric, and at worst ill, or even mad.

An interesting read that although at times does slightly fall into romantic farce, more specifically in the first part, does still have a lot to offer and reminds us all of how attitudes have changed with what women can and cannot do.
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 2 August 2015
I don't think I'd heard of Elizabeth von Arnim until I saw a favourable reference to her in a review of an Elizabeth Edmondson book. So I chose The Pastor's Wife because it sounded interesting. Yes, it's dated and wordy, but I was very taken by the light and airy style. And the start of Ingeborg's trip to Switzerland reminded me of organised rail and boat trips to Greece and Italy over fifty years ago.

After a holiday romance we return to the cathedral city and the Bishop's Palace, and to a world reminiscent of that portrayed by Trollope five decades earlier and Barbara Pym five decades later. It was interesting visiting the world of the Bishop and even more interesting being taken to the curious world of East Prussia, gone these seventy years.

And Ingeborg, the lead character, bishop's daughter and pastor's wife, transported to this strange society, finds that she has become a breeding machine. Finally she puts her foot down: enough is enough. The consequences are unhappy and the author becomes insightful. But relief is at hand, or at least some sort of relief, in the shape of the (rather odious) painter, Edward Ingram. This leads to yet more pages of wordy introspection. But we are relieved by a railway journey of some length and interest. It terminates in Italy and then the story comes to quite an exciting close.

This is not the sort of book I'd normally read, but I'm glad I did: a real period piece.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 20 May 2018
A good read for a 'stuck indoors' winter's day! If you have already read 'Elizabeth and her German Garden' you will find this interesting although not as good. A bit long-winded in parts, but some laugh-out-loud bits, particularly the descriptions of 'visiting' etiquette in former Prussia. In fact, if you are interested in pre-1st World War Germany, all von Arnim's books are useful. Also good for the price on a Kindle!
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 7 December 2013
Many readers will have heard of Von Arnim's "Elizabeth and her German Garden" but the rest of her books seem to have been forgotten. I am delighted with these Kindle illustrated editions and "The Pastor's Wife" is one of the best. It is fascinating to read this fresh and vivid depiction of a lost world where women had almost no value if they did not marry and produce endless babies. Elizabeth von Arnim has a unique view of the world and the relations between men and women. The heroine is maddening and naive yet strangely likeable and the combination of culture clash (she moves to East Prussia) and the usual sex and class wars lead to hilarious situation comedy. I learned a great deal of social history and although some of the plot stretched my credulity I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is also very good value for money.
4 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 19 May 2015
An unusal and interesting novel which deals with mixed marriage (Enlish/German) and the problems and benefits this can lead to in the setting of early 1900s. Elizabeth von Arnim has a beautifully lyrical style of writing that is observant and flowing. She captures the late Edwardian times, but deals with issues that are still relevant today.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 6 January 2015
This book is my introduction to Elizabeth von Arnim. Why I haven't I heard of her long ago? Her feminism is as fresh today as it must have been when this was first published. Superb.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 22 December 2012
This is well up to von Arnim's usual standard. Funny and very sharp. Her insight into self-contented men is unsurpassed. Superb.Just as good as 'The Caravanners', another great book in a similar satiric vein. She deserves to be more widely known.
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 17 February 2017
How did this young woman setting out in her life with such bright promise endure and accept her role as the wife of Herr Dremmel. I suppose because she had no real choices. Well observed by Elizabeth von Arnem
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 3 June 2016
Good read, it a bit down-beat! Always enjoy reading Elizabeth von Arnim,
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 4 June 2015
Hilarious! Made me decide to read another of this lesser known-writer, and a biography too.
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse