I'm new to this so be kind. I hope Clare and Russ have a healthy daughter and name her Grace.
About the books, I'm glad Russ wears glasses. I've read very few books where one of the main characters is myopic. It makes him a regular person, more believable.
I'm glad Clare is not focused on her looks but does sometimes feel inadequate compared to Karen and Linda. She mulls it over and moves on.
Their relationship is formed in In the Bleak Midwinter and continues to build. It's in To Darkness and to Death that I think it is shown in full bloom. Sitting at a table at the Spa with Linda, Hugh, the mayor and members of St. Alban's, in the most uncomfortable situation, making small talk and Russ suddenly asks Clare what the oldest van der Hoeven's name is. In the midst of everyone it is just them, talking, figuring it out, working together.
I loved all of the books but the one that touched me is I Shall Not Want. How do you pray? She gives him an honest answer. The no going back, everything will be after. The description of Clare seeing Russ on the pallet is breath taking. When I read "she saw his hand, tan, limp, still wearing his wedding ring" I realized I was actually crying. I knew Russ wasn't going to die but that entire portion of the book saddened me.
I have gone on too long but I wanted to share my feelings about Julia Spencer-Fleming's books. They have become an important part of my reading life. I suspend belief at times but I am never disappointed in the story.