The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwood

The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwood
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (288 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

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.

William is dedicated to his religion. His ambition is to go to India, the Far East or Africa to help the underprivileged. Unfortunately the Dean of the City of London (his sponsor) has other ideas and arranges for William to take over a living in Shropshire. Afraid to say no, William travels to Shropshire but is determined to escape to his missionary work as soon as possible.

Cecilia is considered a dreamer and spends most of her time wandering the countryside with her paints and sketchbook. Her mother has plans for her to marry the younger son of the local nobility, and her daughter obediently tries to attract the man’s attention.

The beginning of the seemed a bit slow and dry, but after the first few pages I got hooked. Cecilia blossomed into a woman who knew her own mind, but didn’t want to disappoint her mama. William wrestled with his love for Cecilia and his desire to do missionary work. His longing to be a missionary did not include a wife.

I felt as if both the main characters were my friends and I longed to be able to help them, especially when the nasty younger son had designs on Cecilia which didn’t include marriage. The setting was outside the debutante area of London and this made it more interesting for me as it provided a new aspect to the era. Charlotte Brentwood has provided a unique vision into small village life when the nobility ruled everything.

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