The Cleaner of Chartres

The Cleaner of Chartres

Book - 2012
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From the author of Miss Garnet's Angel , a story of the redemptive power of love and community in the famous French cathedral town

There is something very special about Agnès Morel. A quiet presence in the small French town of Chartres, she can be found cleaning the famed medieval cathedral each morning and doing odd jobs for the townspeople. No one knows where she came from or why. Not Abbé Paul, who discovered her one morning twenty years ago, sleeping on the north porch, and not Alain Fleury, the irreverent young restorer who works alongside her each day and whose attention she catches with her tawny eyes and elusive manner. She has transformed each of their lives in her own subtle way, yet no one suspects the dark secret Agnès is hiding.

When an accidental encounter dredges up a series of tragic incidents from Agnès's youth, the nasty meddling of town gossips threatens to upend the woman's simple, peaceful life. Her story reveals a terrible loss, a case of mistaken identity, and a cruel and violent act that haunts her past. Agnès wrestles with her own sense of guilt and enduring heartbreak while the citizens piece together the truth about her life.
Publisher: New York :, Viking,, [2012]
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9780670785674
Branch Call Number: F VIC
Characteristics: 296 pages ; 22 cm


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A beautiful tale, part love story part magical realism set in small town France. The enigmatic Agnes despite her simplicity, always seems to have a guardian angel ensuring she survives, from the day she was found in a basket in the woods to the day she finds love and the cathedral at Chartres. A charming story.

Mar 22, 2016

Gently funny, graceful, a believable plot, great characters, a quick trip to France. What's not to love?

Oct 14, 2015

I loved this book ! It is unusual , charming and shows good character development . The end is weaker than the beginning , but it was a pleasure to read

Jun 11, 2015

This gentle read tells the story of Agnes Morel, a young woman who appeared in Chartres one day and has been cleaning for a living for nearly 20 years. After unintentionally angering the town's most malicious gossip, Agnes is forced to consider the reason she came to Chartres so long ago. While the novel flips between the past and the present, you finally learn the sad, and ultimately hopeful, history behind Agnes elusive façade.

Feb 03, 2015

If you're looking for a page turner, this is not your book. This is a slowly unfolding deeply thoughtful story with beautiful character development. I really enjoyed it.

melwyk Dec 28, 2014

This is a slower-moving book that depends on characters being exposed bit by bit, through indirect means -- it's perfect for those who enjoy stories based on character, told in language that is also full of images, reflecting the fragmented nature of main character Agnes' past life.

I really enjoyed this book, as it slowed me down to follow the twists of the sentences and the story. But it also held lots of human behaviour that made this deceptively quiet; there are many incidents despite the slower pace. It's worth getting to know Agnes, and especially Chartres.

Oct 02, 2013

I couldn't put this down - what a great heroine!

Feb 09, 2013

Loved this! Sally Vickers is a brilliant writer. We learn about Agnes, the cleaner of Chartres, mostly through the people she comes in contact with, many of whom care deeply about her. I fell in love with several of the characters. Some wonderful scenes especially with Dr Demain and Jean Dupere and Abbe Paul. Some one liners extremely quotable. Plot keeps you guessing a bit anxiously at times. And all comes out in the wash perfectly. Beautiful!

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