The Cleaner of Chartres – Salley Vickers

The Cleaner of Chartres



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My Rating
5 stars

Redemption and self-discovery are recurrent themes in Salley Vickers’  writing and she tackles the same subjects here in The Cleaner of Chartres. The central hub of the story is the ancient cathedral of Chartres which attracts a wide range of visitors, each one seeking something different to fulfil their incomplete lives. Agnes Morel is the enigmatic young woman at the centre of events, quietly engrossed in her task of cleaning but having a lasting effect on those who come in contact with her.

As the novel unfolds we gradually put together the pieces of Agnes’ traumatic past, parts of which come back to haunt her. The supporting cast of locals are flawed, living, breathing individuals from the troubled, senile Abbe Bernard to the local gossiping widows Mmes Beck and Picot. Their stories intertwine with that of Agnes and we feel part of this small community.

This is a character-driven novel, exquisitely slow moving and beautifully written in a gentle, engaging style. It will probably also appeal to fans of the Chocolat series by Joanne Harris and the film Amelie.

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  1. Tom Cunliffe says:

    Interesting. I am about to read this myself. I’ve read most of her other books I think and enjoyed them all except Mr Golightly Holiday

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for commenting Tom. I read and enjoyed The Other Side of You and have Miss Garnet’s Angel tbr. I love it when a quite, unshowy book grabs your attention without relying on flashiness.

  3. Ellie says:

    For some reason I adore this cover. I’ve heard a bit about the book this week but first time I’ve seen it, pretty!

  4. admin says:

    The cover is gorgeous, I agree, there’s something very ethereal about it and it does match the tone of the novel.

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