Written and published by Elizabeth von Arnim in 1914, The Pastor's Wife is a delightful novel about an obedient young woman who all of a sudden decides to revolt against her upbringing.
The docile young lady protagonist of the novel is called Ingeborg Bullivant, the second daughter of a bishop. She is sent to London to get her toothache treated. The bishop advises her daughter to stay in London until she is completely cured, so Ingeborg has time on her hand and that is when the idea to escape comes to her mind. She goes to Europe where she meets a young man, a pastor who asks to marry him, proposal that she accepts despite of her family's bewilderment.
The young couple moves to Germany and Ingeborg soon realizes that her husband cares more for his land than for her wife or for their life together. She is unhappy, but they stay together. Ingeborg 's health declines because of her several pregnancies - she gives life to two healthy children, but she suffers multiple miscarriages and two of her children are stillborn. She refuses to become intimate with her husband for fear of getting pregnant again, which transforms their marriage into a brother-sister relationship. Time passes and Ingeborg meets another man, so the novel is far being over at this point - there is a lot more events to come and the novel ends in a truly surprising way.
Just like many other novels by von Armin, The Pastor's Wife is an excellent story, told in an exquisite, sensitive and sympathetic style. Despite the darker moments and the hardships she must endure, Ingeborg stays optimistic and cheerful all the time, teaching the reader a very important lesson: optimism and humor can help endure even the most terrible things in life and no situation is really ever hopeless.
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