Friday, February 06, 2015

He Fell in Love With His Wife, by Edward Payson Roe

This book was suggested to me by my friend Shannon, who submitted this title for my Facebook Reading Challenge (wherein I asked 4 people to recommend a title of their choosing for me to read this year). Shannon had recommended He Fell in Love with His Wife to me last year and I had downloaded it on my Kindle (yes, gasp!) because it was free. But then I never managed to get around to reading it. I was content to read it on the Kindle but she kindly loaned me her original first edition copy to read because she knew I would greatly prefer a book in hand (and also she is sweet that way). I expressed terror at the very idea of touching it, for fear I'd hurt it somehow. She told me that she'd rather it be read and wounded than to just sit on the bookshelf unread. (That's a generous attitude. I clearly have things to learn from her.)

Anyway, I sat down with this book a week or so ago and found it altogether charming. This book tells us the story of James Harcroft, a struggling farmer in the late 1800's. His wife recently died and he is having a hard time running the farm alone and so takes in a "well respected" widowed lady and her daughter to help around the property. Things don't go so well with this arrangement though, as it seems this lady expects to be asked to marry James.  She has visions of grandeur and can't seem to realize how detestable her person is in actuality. She's a rather loathsome creature and James, having no such plans to ever marry again, eventually sends her packing. (Despite the fact that I'm telling you the bald facts, this character and her interchanges are actually quite funny! It is a very comedic story up to this point.)

Ultimately, James is introduced to a young lady named Alida Armstrong who is in some desperate straights of her own. The two agree to a "strictly business" marriage wherein they will be man and wife on paper but he'll give her protection and provision and, in exchange, she'll help out around the house and farm. You can see where this is going, right?

The story is altogether predictable but that shouldn't make you shy away from it. Roe has a delightful way of describing his characters and their personalities to amuse and repulse you. I enjoyed this story on the whole. It is, as others have said (see Goodreads), a sweet and wholesome romance without a lot of modern smut included. It is simply a story of friendship turned to love after a really rocky start. To repeat and make clear: I'm linking the title He Fell in Love with His Wife to the Amazon page for the Kindle version which is free for download. I suspect several of you would really enjoy this story and it's always nice to read a book for free. (Even if it is on Kindle.)

When I was looking up more information about this book online I came across a few tidbits about author Edward Roe which I found interesting. I'll note the facts below for your edification as well:

  • Edward Payson Roe was born in New York in 1838.
  • He attended Williams College and Auburn Theological Seminary.
  • He served as a chaplain to the Second New York Calvary before taking up a pastorate in Highland Falls, New York.
  • In 1874 he left the pastorate, moved, and took up writing and farming.
  • He wrote 20 books, He Fell In Love With His Wife being the 14th.
  • His novels were very popular in their day, particularly among the middle class in both America and England. His books were translated into several European languages.
  • In every age and at every time, there are always Christians who feel that you ought not to read any sort of fiction but stick to the Bible and non-fiction. Apparently, due to the fact that Roe was a former pastor, this eased people's consciouses a bit and helped soften that time period's prejudice against fiction.
  • After his death, people were clamoring for more information about the man and so his sister wrote a biography about him which is available online. I skimmed the first chapter and it looks really fun and interesting.

Thanks, Shannon, for recommending this title to me! You've opened up a new world and I very much enjoyed the first visit. I'll check in with Roe again in the future, I've no doubt!


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Downloading! :). Reminds me of a certain prairie romance I was in love with as a teen. . . :)

Stephanie said...

Me too! Amy, I was having Janette Oke flashbacks as well! : )

Beth said...

Sound like my kind of book. I am like Amy and Stephanie--your description was bringing back memories of a previous book read oh so many years ago!

Barbara H. said...

Sounds like a lot of fun! Just ordered it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for suggesting this book. I just finished it and loved it! - Abbie

Shonya said...

I downloaded it, thought I would read it on the marriage cruise. . .what was I thinking?! LOL I spent time with my hubby instead. But I'll hopefully get to it someday. . .

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