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==Synopsis of the book:==
Reverend Dominic and Clarice Corde are sent by the Bishop to the snowy village of Coyyisham to cover for Reverend Wynter while he takes a break. This is the opportunity the couple have been waiting for and a far cry to the bleach London of 1890 they left behind. However as soon as they arrive they realise what a well liked, respect and admired man Wynter is and realise they will have their work cut out to emulate him.
After settling in for a few days Clarice makes a horrific discovery in the cellar, when she discovers Wynter's body in what appears unusual surroundings. She is shocked but not completely surprised as she has leant in the past few days of a couple of different villagers he has apparently fallen out with. Is there more to this religious man than first appeared, Clarice and Dominic decide to find out.
==My thoughts on the novel:==
This is the third book I have read in the Anne Perry's Christmas Collection of books. I found it an enjoyable and interesting read as I did the other two as well. It was a comparatively short story with only 160 pages but this is typical of the style for these stories. Anna Perry is a very accomplished writer usually specialising in telling yarns from the Victorian era.
There is certainly a charm and warmth about her stories. In a time when the Church was a very important part of the community and it played a pivotal role in most people's lives. Anna Perry for me captures the mood and feeling of the time superbly. Demonstrating very clearly the differences between then and now.
For me this was not the most absorbing read ever, partly because it lacked depth. When I say this I do not mean it in a nasty way at all. It simply lacked depth because it was a shorter story, had the author choosen to extend the story or add a few other concepts then I would have enjoyed it more. And while I have got used to this author writing about our past I still find some of the ideas and beliefs she explains and deals with to be alien.
The idea behind the story was very simple but at the same time very good. I found I immediately took to the story mainly because I felt empathy with the stories two main characters. I could feel it was important to them to make a success of this chance they were being given and my support was with them to do this. In some ways you could argue this would have been an interesting story without the Reverend's death, simply because it was well written, with interesting characters. But for me his death gave the characters meaning to try and discover why anyone in the village would want to kill this seemingly very popular man.
While I have enjoyed the three books all with an connection to Christmas, I am beginning to wonder if in bygone days it was always snowy in December. As in all three the snow seems to be a important aspect and while it brings sometimes romantic and definitely a feeling of Christmas, I wonder how correct the author is in this assumption. I suppose you can say it adds to the mood of the stories and reminds us just how tough things were for people in Victorian Times.
When I look at the positives about Anne Perry's novels, for me the most obvious is she has introduced me at a time I have practically no interest in. She has held my attention and told so far three interesting stories, while at the same time educating me on exactly what is was like to live then. So for this I must give her credit. From my experiences she brings to life a period where people led very simple but generally happy lives.
The story was always in my opinion developing and leading somewhere and with Christmas looming the pace seemed fast as lots happened to the lead characters in a short pace of time. My only criticism I had with it was I thought it all ended rather to quickly, I would have preferred a longer drawn out conclusion, then at least I could have digested and thought about it a little more.
A lot of the magic for me about this novel was centred around it's wonderful two lead characters. I thought the author was amazing the way she could tell the same story from both of their view points and at the same time share each of their worries and concerns. Both were very different but brought together by love and I liked the way the author demonstrated their feeling for eachother, while also showing how vulnerable they both felt at different times in the story.
The story was rich in both mystery and suspense, although it took a while to appear. But when it did it made you question people's motives and was there more behind the support characters than we were being told about. Even up to the last few pages the mystery was there and it always had me guessing and not knowing the right answer until it was discovered.
The book is one of seven in the Christmas series and although published in 2006, I have seen it for sale at Amazon recently for just £4.47 new. I think this demonstrates good value for money as it is certainly worth a read.
Another winner for me in the Anne Perry collection, a good well told story from the 19th Century, with two very strong and fascinating characters. For me the great quality this author has is making me interested in something I wouldn't consider normally, she has an amazing gift of bringing the past back to life. The only negative from my perspective is I would have liked a longer more complex story, but what I read regardless was very good.
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
@CPTDANIELS April 2010