Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Cleaner of Chartres

The Cleaner of Chartres
Author: Salley Vickers
Publisher: Viking
Publication: July 1, 2013
Original Publication 2012 UK

Book Description:
When a strange young woman is found sleeping in the porch of the ancient cathedral of Chartres, none of the residents of this quiet little town realise what changes lie in store for them...

With her dark skin, her colourful clothes and her curious manner, Agnes Morel catches the eye of everyone she encounters. Before long she is cleaning for the Abbe Paul in the cathedral, organising lonely Professor Jones's chaotic papers and helping Philippe Nevers with his irresponsible sister and her newborn child. At the same time, she bewitches the local painter Robert Clement with her topaz eyes and captures the heart of Alain, the handsome restorer who works alongside her in the cathedral each morning. Little by little, day by day, she has a magical effect on each of their lives. But the mystery of Agnes's origins leads the jealous Madame Beck and her gossiping companion Madame Picot to all sorts of schemes and speculations. As the rumours grow stronger, Agnes is eventually forced to come to terms with her own traumatic past. 

From the author of the bestselling Miss Garnet's Angel and winner of the 2007 IMPAC Dublin award, The Cleaner of Chartres is the beautifully beguiling tale of a young woman who brings healing to a town that didn't know it needed it, only to find her own redemption among its community of lost souls.

Idgie Says:
This is a fascinating novel of a town coming together - while some work to tear her apart - in the assisting of Agnes, a mysterious homeless woman, in finding a place to call her own.

She showed up in town one day and has slowly worked her way (literally) into the community while maintaining total silence on where she came from or who she is.
The story flashes back and forth between her present circumstances and the past - all the way back to her birth and abandonment.   

When the past finally catches up to the present and the gossips go to work attempting to destroy her character and what she's gained, you're on the edge of your seat to see if it truly happens or whether Agnes overcomes the past.

The novel has it all - abandonment, illegitimacy, madness, anger, lust and a large mystery wrapped around a nice juicy story.