My second book by Kate Hewitt and the second time I went in thinking I’d enjoy a sweet, light read but ended up taking away a deeper reflection than expected.
Welcome to Thornthwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District, where homecomings and surprises await the four Holley sisters…
Esther Holley, the eldest in the family, has always had her life firmly in control until a miscarriage knocks her off course. Two months later, still emotionally spinning, she separates from her husband Will, a sheep farmer and man of few words and moves back in with her parents.
Life as a singleton thirtysomething living in her parents’ house is miserable, but Esther is determined to re-boot her life, including going on a few unfortunate dates. She’s shocked when tight-lipped Will shows up on her doorstep determined to woo her back. They’ve been married for seven years, but Will wants to return to the beginning, dating and getting to know each other again.
New challenges face them as they start over–and new chances too. Can Esther and Will save their marriage, especially when faced with the hardest decision of all?
Available on Amazon.
I adored A Vicarage Christmas, which I read at the end of last year, as I felt a certain kinship with Anna. In that story we met all the Holley sisters, and Esther isn’t particularly likeable. In fact, even in her own story it would be easy to write off this assertive-to-the point-of-obnoxious heroine. She’s stubborn and so unwilling to open up. She’s focussed on only what’s right in front of her and overly determined to ‘get on with it’. But then she just can’t anymore.
In A Vicarage Reunion, Esther has to face what happens when a person simply can’t just keep going. She also has to learn what it really means to be married, even seven years in. Not in a bad way, as Will too has to confront his own weaknesses and figure out how he and his wife are supposed to connect with each other and help each other at their best and worst times.
This is a story about how two imperfect people learn to let their guards down and let each other in. They have to accept their most shameful parts and trust each other to love through it all. Getting married is the easy part. Staying married and working through the tough times… that’s real love!
As Esther tries to navigate the new turbulence in her life she pays special attention to her parents’ marriage and especially her mother’s devotion to her father. Ruth may not want to move for herself but she wants to move because of how much her husband wants to take on the new challenges. There is a lot to ponder on that one and each of the Holley sisters seem to have a different take away from the situation.
Will’s life hasn’t been an easy one either and he’s described as a ‘typical buttoned-up English farmer’. Even in the chapters told from his perspective you can get the sense of him struggling to understand himself and label his emotions. His and Esther’s transformation as a couple is really quite delightful to read.
Maybe life wasn’t the single, straight road she kept trying to make it, but a meandering path with lots of bumps and surprises along the way, for everyone.
But what is love if it can’t accept the good parts of someone, the weak along with the strong?
Kate Hewitt’s writing style is light yet packed with emotional moments, especially as we get the story from dual perspectives. The switches from Esther’s point of view to Will’s are seemless and carry the story forward while allowing the reader to get an insight into each character.
I’m really loving this series and I’m looking forward to the next book which focuses on the second eldest sister.
I give A Vicarage Reunion 4.5/5 richly complex espresso shots.