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The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwood
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The Vagabond Vicar

by Charlotte Brentwood

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It’s London in June 1805 and cleric William Brook has committed himself to God’s calling. He has a very adventurous spirit and is ready and expecting to be sent to the Far East, or India, or Africa. When Dean Jacob Roberts called William into his office, William was elated. But, the Dean has decided to send Brook to the Village of Amberly in Stropshire, England – population 200 – where the former vicar had passed on. William debates the decision with the Dean but to no avail. To make matters worse, his friend, Thomas is being sent to India.

William is determined to make his time in Amberly short and then move on to something more adventurous. The people all expect him to act just like and preach just like the former vicar, except that William has some ideas of his own that he intends to act upon. For instance, he wants to share the gospel message at the local pub. He meets the lovely Cecelia Grant. She is obedient to her parents but yearns to make her own way. Her mother pushes her toward the younger Mr. Barrington – wealthy and affluent. William and Cecelia both feel attraction to one another, but they fight against it. She prays for “help … to concentrate on the sermon, not on the Vicar’s figure! Amen!”

Most of the characters are known by their titles, Mr. or Mrs. which seems indicative of a more formal writing style to match the early nineteenth-century period. Many other reviewers have indicated how Charlotte Brentwood’s writing resembles Jane Austen’s and I tend to agree. The character of William seemed cunning at first, but as his personality opened up and I got to know him, I could feel his compassion for others. Both William and Cecelia are lively and believable and on the sidelines, the reader roots for a romance to blossom between them. It is a clean historical romance novel. Rating 3.5 out of 5. ( )
  FictionZeal | May 17, 2015 |
This was a delightful escape from the heavier books I have been reading – I really needed it. Our young vicar wants more from his life than being assigned to a small community in England but that is where he is sent. He figures he’ll do his job in hopes of transfer and then he’ll get his life of adventure. He didn’t count on Cecelia. Nor did she figure on young William.

Cecelia’s mother has grand plans for her daughter that do not include her marrying some vicar that has just turned up in the village no matter how attractive her daughter might find him. She wants her to marry into the ruling family of Amberly – even if Cecelia finds the match boring at best. To her William is the only man who has understood her spirit. But does she want the life he has to offer? And does he want to give up his dreams of adventure to settle down in this little town?

This was a fast and engaging read full of all of the quirky characters you would expect to find in a small village in Regency England. And we all love a will she/won’t she type of romance now and again. There must, of course, be a requisite bad guy and he is the only character that doesn’t fully develop but it’s a small complaint in an otherwise wonderful read. I really enjoyed Cecelia and William – they are a delightful pair and they gave me a respite I needed. I would happily go visit them again. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | May 9, 2015 |
William Brook, a young cleric in London hopes for nothing more than an assignment in a faraway land with adventure, hard labor and the ability to spread the word to new people. Instead, he is given a placement as a vicar in Amberley Village, a small town with gossiping women, young ladies looking for a suitable match and men who would rather not have a young vicar in their business. Conversely, Cecelia Grant was not expecting someone quite so young or handsome to take the previous elder vicar’s place. Cecelia’s would love to stay in her beautiful home town and spend her days painting, teaching and wandering; however, her mother would love nothing more than for Cecelia to be married to someone of a higher station and with much more money, someone like John Barrington. Cecelia’s inquisitive nature and intelligence often comes off as an eccentricity, but to the vicar, Cecelia seems to be the only one he can relate to in the small town.
The Vagabond Vicar is a sweet and charming regency set historical romance with many swoon-worthy moments. Though I don’t usually read regency romances, I was intrigued by the plot and as I read, I fell in love with the characters. Cecelia is definitely more interesting than everyone in town makes her to be, especially because she does not want to be pushed into a marriage just for the title, money, and lands that go with it. William is definitely more that the average vicar, he does not want to be tied down to such a small and dull town, but he is still kind hearted and feels the need to help people where he can. From William and Cecelia’s first meeting, I could feel their draw to one another. Through the book, their temptation for one another kept me reading. Even the dastardly villain, Mr. Barrington, intent on taking Cecelia for no reason other than to keep her from William, added suspense and scandal to the story. For a classic romance, the characters felt fresh and complex and I would definitely pick up the next two books in the series which seem to focus on supporting characters in Amberley.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
  Mishker | Mar 31, 2015 |
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