Saturday, April 3, 2010

To Love and To Cherish by Patricia Gaffney

I got all 3 books in this trilogy because book #2, To Have and To Hold, is #34 on the AAR Top 100 Romances 2007. I actually misplaced all 3 until just recently, wnd when I came across them, decided it was time to read them!

This one could be classified as inspirational - which means that it has a religious theme and is almost as driven by love of God as by the couple's romance. The hero is Christian "Christy" Morrell, the village vicar who took over the pastorage from his father. The heroine is Anne Verlaine, who shows up with her husband when his father, the village viscount, passes away. Her husband was Christy's childhood best friend, but they haven't seen each other in years. While Christy turned from mischievous youth to the area's religious leader, Geoffrey turned into a wandering and almost penniless soldier, bitter, disillusioned and ill. He wed Anne, we learn, because he thought she was rich - but through a twist of fate, her father died before inheriting, so she had no more money than he.

He soon leaves Anne alone at the family home to go off to another war. Christy, meanwhile, realizes he has feelings for Anne and determines this is a test of his faith and his will. He decides not to see her anymore, until he learns that Geoffrey has been killed. The two then decide to let the village know of their relationship a proper amount of time afterwards and carry on in secret until...

spoiler spoiler spoiler

Geoffrey wasn't actually killed and returns home. But that's not the end - a sort of deus ex machina couple of coincidences occur which reinforce Christy's faith, and somehow make Anne faithful too, and well, Geoffrey kills himself but then he was going to die of his illness pretty soon anyway.

I liked it ok. It was, well, ok, but not great. Her writing is clear, well-written, well-edited but the story was just ... ok. I wasn't moved and that last bit of coincidences occurring all at the end just seemed too convenient. 3 stars. Yawn.

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