Friday, April 17, 2009

Book Review: The Gresham Chronicles

While I was waiting for my batch of Iris Johanson books to arrive from the library, I snagged these three books from my church's library. They looked interesting & they were. 

The three books are The Gresham Chronicles. They begin with the first book The Widow of Larkspur Inn which follows a woman who moves to the small village of Gresham after her husband suddenly dies. Three weeks after his death she discovers that he had secretly gambled away all they owned & she was left only with an old coaching inn in the country. She moves her family there and makes a go of inn life. 

The second book follows the new vicar's family (while still incorporating all the characters from the first book) who has just recently moved to Gresham as well after an "unfortunate" incident involving his oldest daughter. This is a wonderful story of healing and forgiveness.

The last story is about a spinster who has been a school teacher for fourteen years at a boarding school in Scotland. She moves home to be near her family and take up a teaching position in the village of Gresham. It follows her as she is courted by the eligible men in that village.

What I truly enjoyed about these books is that they Christian theme wasn't over the top. It was matter-of-fact, every day life things. For instance, in the third book the Vicar is doing his daily calls to his parishioners. He is bringing some fig bread to a shut-in but it is stolen by one of the local "bad boys." He doesn't want to admit his issue to his cook who was adamant he not loose this bread which he had done before. So he goes to the bakery & buys some blackberry bread instead to replace it. However, he finds the boy who stole the fig bread & ends up getting it back. At this point he has already given the blackberry bread to the shut-in who wants him to be sure to thank the cook. He ends up switching the bread and feels horrible all day about his deceptions surrounding this. 

There are characters who are flawed (one suffers from depression) and those who have a change of heart and are redeemed and forgiven with God's grace.

The books were nice easy reads that were very enjoyable to read. They were a wonderful glimpse in to the Victorian life in the late 1800's. The romance in them was not over the top either & I found them just a fun read and recommend them. I'll also be looking for more books by this author.

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