A Christmas Hope by Anne Perry
What a wonderful story. I have always liked Claudine Burroughs, a volunteer in Hester Monk’s clinic for sick and injured prostitutes. I like her pluck, her courage and her sense of fair play and justice. I cheer for the way she has stepped outside of the role society and her husband expects her to pursue, that of supportive wife and homemaker, of adhering to society's rules for women. She has taken up the cause of the less fortunate. In doing so she is receiving far more than she's gives, a sense of purpose. Life has become meaningful.
Wallace of course hates her charity work. It is not gentile enough for his social aspirations.
How I dislike her husband Wallace. A bully really who sees his wife as an extension of himself. To the point that Wallace dictates her in the wearing and buying of even her dresses. Her behaviour needs to support him ingratiate himself in society and up the ladder of business and success. Claudine's commentary on her marriage is quite devastating. One can see why in just a momentary meeting with the welsh poet, Dai Tregarron, Claudine decides to champion him.
In a tenderly reflective, nonsensical moment in the garden they had conversed. In a flight of poetic fantasy he had called her Olwen. Sadly Claudine realized that she liked that name better than her own.
There's been a murder! A young prostitute at that same high society party is beaten. She dies. Dai Is accused. Claudine believes that the Welshman is not the murderer. Yes, he is a drunkard and walks on the wild side but is not a murderer. Besides he likes women. Claudine's sights fall on the three society young men also present at the scene of the murder. Claudine enlists the aid of a reluctant Squeaky Robinson, and sets forth to right a wrong.
Along the way we gain further insights into Claudine, her marriage, her dashed hopes and her dreams. Claudine's strength is our hope, a hope for those reluctantly embroiled in this crime, and the personification of hope for the accused, Dai Tregorran.
A fitting Christmas tale and an excellent read!
A NetGalley ARC