Dear Mrs. Wynn,
If I had to describe your writing I’d say it’s a nice, quiet style that reminds me of Laura Matthews and some of the “older” style authors. You gets your facts straight without making a big deal of it or info dumping the reader. And in “The Parson’s Pleasure” we read a boy meets girl story from a slightly different perspective, that of a man forced into the clergy who really wants more in life.
Miss Claire Oliver is the daughter of a Baron who lives a quiet country life with her loving parents. She is a young lady of good looks but not exceptional beauty, intelligent, practical and the possessor of a handsome portion. A portion which she gratefully knows will allow her independence after her parents pass on and she is left as a spinster, there being no one in their small community she desires to marry and not having found anyone during her one Season in London. It is not until the new parson arrives that she discovers just how much she would miss a lifetime spent with a man of her heart.
Mr. Christopher Bennett is the son of the younger son who has had to depend on the grudging generosity of his wealthy cousin to make his way in life. The avenues which he wanted to explore, land steward to his cousin, member of parliament, have been denied him and he found fighting the Americans in a senseless war, while missing out on defeating the true enemy in France, a waste of lives. Now his one path left in life is that of a clergyman but he is determined to do more with it than his lazy predecessor even if he puts a few noses out of joint in his efforts to help the truly needy. When he finds the woman of his heart, his position as a dependant poor cousin unable to support a wife truly strikes home.
Claire and Christopher are delightful characters and it is sweet watching them slowly fall and admit their feelings to themselves. It is also obvious just how hard it must have been in this society to fall in love with one whom you knew society would not allow a match. This is a nice character driven slice of country life story with nary a Duke spy in sight. Unfortunately, it ends it with a convenient, conventional HEA that sidesteps all the dilemmas that had faced the two lovebirds. So a B for almost all of the book and a C for just the resolution.