Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwood

Charlotte Brentwood contacted me and asked me if I wanted to review her new book 'The Vagabond Vicar'. Since I love historical fiction and a little bit of romance to go with it I agreed. The review to follow is my own personal view and Charlotte has not influenced me in any way.

First a short summary of the book. William Brook is an idealistic young cleric. His highest wish it to go to a foreign land to spread christianity and help the very poor people. Unfortunately for him, his best friend get a posting to India, and  he himself, receives a small parish in Shropshire. This is not exactly what he was aiming at. Although it was seen as a favour to him, since the parish is a good one and he has the approval of the nobel family in the area. However, his idealistic self cannot see how there will be too many poor to help and he realises rather quickly that many families are eager for one of their daughters to merry the vicar. He is determined to stay one year, not get married and then go abroad.

Once in the village he soon gets involved into the daily life of people. He makes an effort to get to know them, to help them where necessary and to take them on the path to a more 'modern' life. The previous vicar had been there for 50 years and things have been idling as they were. Not everyone is happy with his intentions.

His love to be, interest, is Cecilia Grant. She is considered a little bit weird since she get lost in nature and herself. Most of the time she seems to be in another world. She is a free spirit and have difficulties to fit in to a suitable life. One season in London left her without a suitor and her mother is now trying again to find a husband. Her eyes are set on the younger son of the local nobility.

After meeting each other casually for a couple of times both William and Cecilia realise that there is more to their relationship than friendship. While their relationship develops, other people does not look upon it with favourable eyes. Jealousy, bad behaviour and revenge are some of the results, but amongst this back drop, they fall in love. Their love story is threatened by secrets in the village and a scandal from William's past. It will take a bold girl to set things right.
Charlotte Brentwood
Charlotte Brentwood is a young author, and this is her first published book. Her heroes are Darcy, Knightly, Wentworth and Brandon. To be a first book and for the author to be so young, I find the writing very mature. You get into the book at once, the characters are slowly built up until you think you know them all, even the ones which are not frequently mentioned. The description of village life is very trustworthy, which is also the case for the religious parts which describes the work of the vicar. The story develops through the narratives of William and Cecilia.

As for most historical, romance novels, it is easy to read. Especially, since it is very well written. The story is very well put together and tied up in the end. There are several loose ends to tie up and she is doing it very well. The only thing slightly missing in the story line, is a little bit of a 'punch'? The story lacks a little bit of excitement and thrill, although at the end of the book it catches up. However, having said that, and considering the writing, I am looking forward to the next novel by Charlotte. If you like historical, regency, romance you should try this one.

You can read more on her website.

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