His beautiful, cynical, lonely and battered wife Anne. War and soldiering are the only things Geoffrey truly loves. Christy is gentle, kind, caring, loving and he and Anne become fast friends despite their differences in faith (she's an atheist).
Christian Morrell- Christy to all the people who loved him- was the vicar of a small mining town. When the story opened, Christys best friend, Geoffrey, had returned home after years away. Whereas Christy had loving parents, Geoffreys childhood was a nightmare. In addition, he was different from the best friend Christy once remembered.
The hero is...he is...i just love him. I even wish that he did not take the gun even thou Cristy would suffer without Anna. I love the author even more for making Geoffrey fall in love with Ann when it was too late for everything. But the author redeems it all with the pure and wonderful love of Cristy and Anna.
One of the main attractions for To Love and to Cherish, in fact. I actually believed Anne and Christy (that's the hero) were in love, and I believe I've only said that once or twice before of a historical romance. Anne and Christy exchange those declarations occasionally, but mostly, they convince the reader as a couple because of the way they think of each other first, in a practical, even self-interested fashion. Christy felt bad for Jennifer, but really, he didn't care about the heifer. He just wanted to know if Anne was okay." Yes, I'm paraphrasing, but my point is that Gaffney captured couplethink pretty well. Every romance hero should be a Christy clone, LOL. Unfortunately, Gaffney inflicts Anne's diary entries on us!
It is a huge, HUGE thing that will hang over the book like a cloud of radiation-- and there are not many authors who can adequately deal with the fallout. Hence-- unless the author is Margaret Atwood or Maya Angelou-- I am going to avoid books that use rape as a plot point like the plague. Anyway, when I picked up Patricia Gaffney's TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH, I'd heard great things about the adorable blond beta-hero vicar hero and the bucolic early Victorian English setting. Because Anne realizes this violent and horrible rape was actually an "act of love"! hide your rape! (hide spoiler)
It's a rare author who can make a truly good, selfless, godly and religious man into an interesting and sexy hero -- one whose beliefs don't make him insufferable when you don't necessarily share them as a reader. Who is capable of writing a villain who isn't just a roadblock to the hero and heroine's happily ever after, but a believable, nuanced, and even heartbreaking character in his own right, in spite of the unlikeable and even wicked things he does. Here, read this for more details, it says a lot of the things I didn't.
It ended up being a beautifully written, complex, layered, character-driven love story. The way everything unfolded, the conversations the main characters had, all made this a very rich experience for me.
This book was among the top of my watchlist for already a few years, as it came highly recommended by several reader friends extolling the wonderful writing, unusual but deeply moving story and characters. Add to that several secrets relating to the husband and the reasons behind his falling out with his wife, several debates between the heroine and the pastor regarding faith, as she was atheist/agnostic at best and enjoyed debating.
Patricia Gaffney was born in Tampa, Florida, and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. She earned a bachelors degree in English and philosophy from Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, and also studied literature at Royal Holloway College of the University of London, at George Washington University, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Saving Graces enjoyed bestseller status on the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and other lists. D. Robb, she has contributed stories to three anthologies, all New York Times bestsellers.