Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwood

The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwood
2014, 279 pages, Regency Romance

Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Description: William Brook is an idealistic young cleric, desperate to escape dreary England for a mission adventure in exotic lands. It's his worst nightmare come true when he is posted to a parish in a small backwater village, populated with small-minded people and husband-hunting mamas. He’s determined not to form any ties and to escape the country as an independent single man.

A free spirit, Cecilia Grant is perfectly content to remain in her family home in Amberley village - when she's not wandering the countryside at all hours painting. Marriage options are few, but that won't stop her mother from engineering a match with one of the ruling family's sons. Cecilia attempts to win the man, but what is it about the new vicar and his brooding ways that is so appealing? Could he be the only one who has ever really understood her, and can she discover what he is running away from?

As William struggles not to fall in love with the lady's intoxicating beauty and mysterious eccentricity, he finds himself drawn into the lives of the villagers, despite their best efforts to alienate the newcomer. When he makes it clear he's not sticking around, Cecilia strives to restrain her blossoming feelings for him. Just when it seems love may triumph, dark secrets are revealed in Amberley and a scandal from William’s past may see the end of not only his career, but his chance at finding an everlasting love.

The Vagabond Vicar is an unashamedly romantic historical novel you'll fall in love with. If you love Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, can't get enough of Downton Abbey or Cranford, or just prefer old-fashioned boy-meets-girl stories, try reading Charlotte Brentwood.

Sensuality level: sweet (only kissing)
Please note, although there is some mention of religious subject matter due to the hero's occupation, this is not an "inspirational" novel.

My Review: I could relate to some of the characters in The Vagabond Vicar in one way or another and in this case, especially the vicar. I sometimes have a plan of what I want to have happen in life and when it doesn't go my way, I try to make the best of it, but secretly long for more. That's just what the vicar, William, does. He dreams of spreading the good word to people in exotic places, where they are dying for the truth. Unfortunately, he finds himself stuck in England, and in a small town set it its ways.  Despite his best efforts to be reassigned, he has to stick it out for awhile. Since he's not sticking around, he doesn't plan on love.

As in most small towns, there are some interesting characters. Mothers are lining up to make a match between the vicar and their daughters and he does a good job of evading them. The men try and reject him, until he makes it clear that he doesn't want to stay. The Barringtons are an interesting bunch, as is their maid, Amy, who also happens to be good friends with Cecilia.

Cecilia goes against the grain and doesn't give much thought to being a proper young woman. She is definitely unique, yet beautiful, and is easily distracted. She's determined not to fall for the young vicar, just as he's determined not to fall for her. There's a subtle humor to the story, as well as bits of mystery and intrigue that captures the reader's attention, but it is a gently flowing story.

The romance is sweet and the characters are entertaining. I especially enjoyed the interactions between William and Cecelia, because I never quite knew what I was going to get.

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About the Author: 
Charlotte BrentwoodCharlotte developed serious crushes on a series of men from age fifteen: Darcy, Knightley, Wentworth and Brandon. A bookworm and scribbler for as long as she can remember, Charlotte always dreamed of sharing her stories with the world.

Earning a degree in communication studies, she was seduced by the emerging digital world and has since worked with the web and in marketing. She lives in beautiful Auckland, New Zealand.

When she's not toiling at her day job, writing or procrastinating on the Internet, Charlotte can be found snuggling with her cat Sophie, warbling at the piano, sipping a hot chocolate or enjoying the great outdoors.

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