After supper, Miss Bates tried a piece of wasabi-flavoured chocolate. The smoky-sweet flavour of the dark chocolate was familiar; the wasabi, not so much. This is also her reaction to Gaffney’s To Love and To Cherish. She can’t really review it per se because she’s not sure what she can say about it other than you might want to read it. She doesn’t even really want to review it.

It’s tedious; it’s interesting. It’s original; it bespeaks so many influences, her mind was reeling. It reflects the influence of 19th and 20th century English writers. It’s George Eliot; no, it’s Thomas Hardy (self-admitted on Gaffney’s part). No, Miss Bates has it now: it’s D. H. Lawrence. Uh uh, it’s Graham Greene. It’s first person point of view; it’s third person. There’s a journal; there are sermons. It’s epistolary. It’s inspirational romance; it’s blasphemous. She loved it; she hated it. She’s thinks it’s great; she thinks it’s awful. She was bored; she was enthralled. She fell in love with Christy and Anne; she wanted to smack them. It’s ironic; it’s naïve. It’s Catholic; no, it’s Orthodox. No, it’s Protestant. No, it’s agnostic. It reminded her of: Scenes of Clerical Life; Middlemarch; Lady Chatterley’s Lover; The End of the Affair … really? really Miss Bates? Breaking the Waves?

Maybe you’ll read it. Throw some light on it.

5 thoughts on “IMPRESSIONS Of Patricia Gaffney’s TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH

  1. I am in this same somewhat inarticulate place. I’d add Trollope’s Barsetshire novels and Gaskell’s Cranford to the list of books this sometimes reminded me of.

    One thing I did really appreciate was the importance of community in the novel, and that the community felt real rather than cutesy/funny, as so many small town contemporaries do. Or, not exactly real, but it reminded me of communities described in novels from the mid-nineteenth century. I didn’t think this was entirely historically accurate, but it DID get a “feel” for the fiction of the period that most romance writers don’t, and don’t strive to. I enjoyed that.


    1. I agree on the community. I liked it too. And the Trollope and Gaskell, yes too. I feel as if I’m too-ing everything you’ve said here, but that’s more of the inarticulate me. Feeling like a bit of an idiot about this book really.

      I also liked the passage of the seasons and the flow of the liturgical year. I liked William? Holyoake. I guess we should add Adam Bede and The Mill On the Floss to the mix … too.

      I can’t yet think too much about The Scene … hence, the reference to Breaking the Waves. This is a book and this is all I can articulate at this point, that I’m going to be thinking about for quite a while.

      I really appreciate the bolster to my babbling, though. I look forward to the discussion.


      1. Miss Bates in the 1st person??! This book really DOES seem to get everyone lathered up.


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