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The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers

(56 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 20-Jun-13 16:21:13

Our June book club novel is The Cleaner of Chartres by bestselling author Salley Vickers.

What is the secret of the young woman who cleans the cathedral every morning and whose life has become entwined with so many others in Chartres?

Salley will be dong a Q&A for us. So, please - especially if you got one of the free books - ask her a question by Monday 8 July.

GrandmaH Tue 19-Nov-13 12:50:42

Just read it- absolutely loved it. We are doing it for Reading Group this month.
Wonderful story

Bez Thu 05-Sep-13 12:27:05

I read it while away visiting friends - I loved it too.

janerowena Thu 05-Sep-13 11:30:47

I went away on holiday and took this book with me, and loved it. Yesterday friends and I started up a new book club, and it will be my first recommendation.

Buddie Wed 17-Jul-13 16:12:46

Thank you so much for the copy of this delightful book. Having already read Miss Garnet's Angel and Mr Golightly's Holiday I guessed I was in for a good read and was not disappointed.

I found Agnes an enigmatic pivotal character yet the rest of the cast fitted naturally around her and, for a seemingly simple, uncomplicated person, everyone had an opinion of her. I loved the way the story of the cathedral and Agnes own back-story were told quite naturally through the words and actions of the other characters. Clearly the setting is well researched yet the depth of information offered does not detract in any way from the unfolding of the story.

I look forward to catching up on other novels by Salley Vickers that I have missed and hope we do not have long to wait for another delight to hit the shelves.

Gorki Wed 17-Jul-13 06:19:18

I really enjoyed this book and all the diverse characters who appeared on the pages The cathedral made an unusual backdrop and I particularly liked the short chapters so I could pick it up and read a short bit at a time. Thank you.

cookiemonster66 Tue 16-Jul-13 22:27:55

I enjoyed the book although its not the genre I would usually go for. Really liked the way the book takes you through the passage of her eventful life and how she ends up in Chatres! Thanks for the book!

ElliMary Thu 11-Jul-13 19:32:07

Wasn't it yet another book about a young woman who has several men interested in her mainly because she was pretty, polite and non-threatening? It was a good move for the writer to put her in a famous cathedral otherwise it would have been a very ordinary novel.

Chartres is adequately described in any good guide book on France.

wallers5 Thu 11-Jul-13 17:50:28

Thank you for another lovely book. The cover was very enticing and I enjoyed a slightly unusual book. The descriptions of the Cathedral make me want to visit it. It certainly was very different and isn't this what book club books are about.

Galen Tue 09-Jul-13 19:46:35

Yes I have!
I found it a very unusual book. Not at all what I normally read at all.
However, having said that, I found it very thoughtfully written and thought provoking.
Thank you for a very good read indeed. In fact, the best this year.
(I normally read 2-3 books a week)

hopefulgran Tue 09-Jul-13 11:24:14

I really enjoyed the book but I found the character of Mme Beck rather unconvincing. Do you know of people who are that relentlessly malicious? I found her a rather flat character because I felt I always knew what she was going to do next!

crosspatch Tue 09-Jul-13 11:21:52

The plot is quite labyrinthine. Given that a labyrinth features in the story, was this a deliberate choice? (Assume it was!) If so, what is it a metaphor for?

getmehrt Tue 09-Jul-13 11:19:40

I loved the sense of place in the book. Chartres comes across powerfully as a sacred place. I wondered why you think some places become sacred?

batgran Tue 09-Jul-13 11:18:07

I wanted to pick up on extremesport's point. I am interested in whether you think all novels nowadays are influenced by psychoanalytic theory? You would think they must be - it's difficult to imagine purely evil or purely anything characters in a modern novel: everything has to be explained by the past.

closetgran Tue 09-Jul-13 11:15:55

Some readers have complained that Agnes is quite a difficult character to get to grips with - that she's too passive and changeable to fix onto. Is that fair, do you think? Do you understand what they're getting at?

granIT Tue 09-Jul-13 11:13:35

It is quite brave to write about Christianity and redemption nowadays. Were you worried that they were old-fashioned subjects and would put off reviewers and publishers, who are always looking for new things?

extremesport Tue 09-Jul-13 11:09:01

In what way does your training as a psychoanalyst affect your writing?

Grannyknot Sun 07-Jul-13 22:17:05


What waitress!? Note to self - stop reading a chapter before you nod off at night, instead of persevering to the end of it. (Also just finished reading the book but will now have to go back).

psg1968 Sun 07-Jul-13 10:03:18

Finished the book yesterday in the sunshine!!
Wasn't sure whether this was my kind of book to start with However I Thoroughly enjoyed this book the characters were colourful and believable and the story was interesting and kept my attention throughout. Without giving too much away I thought the ending was apt.
Will be recommending this book to others!

Venus Fri 05-Jul-13 11:41:25

I've just finished reading the book, and enjoyed it immensely. Although I found out, as I read, that the story wasn't set in the past, it did have that feel about it.

The book intimated who Agnes's parents were. Would you please clarify this and why the waitress, if she was the mother, didn't keep her as a baby?

chrissy5061 Fri 05-Jul-13 09:06:05

Thanks Gransnet for a lovely book. I had a book to finish when I received it, so have only just started it. I really thought that I wasn't going to like it at first, boy how wrong I was, I am now about half way through but I,m really gripped,I shall tell my friends & family about it. So well written, you cannot wait to turn a page. Thank you again for a really great read. I really must try to visit Chartres, it now is on the list of things to do.

emmasnan Tue 02-Jul-13 19:44:23

Thank you for the book. Only just been able to start mine, enjoying it so far.

Galen Tue 02-Jul-13 18:29:44

I'm enjoying it very much! I only got it yesterday as I was on holiday!

EastEndGranny Tue 02-Jul-13 17:32:10

I am really enjoying reading ' the Cleaner of Chartres' but haven't quite finished it yet. I like the way it moves between different times. Did you spend a lot of time in Chartres before writing your book? What made you want to write about this area in France?

Bez Tue 02-Jul-13 12:34:25

So many good reports - I have just bought it for my kindle.

NannyPam Tue 02-Jul-13 11:43:45

Many thanks for this book GN I really enjoyed it and will look out for Salley's
other books.
I would like to ask how Salley went about writing a book that switches between the current story and the story of what happened in the past as this book does so that it all comes together so well? Do you have an outline plan in the beginning and write to that or ...........?