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The Vagabond Vicar, By Charlotte Brentwood, Regency Romance, Oct. 15, 2014 release date, 279 pages, e-book, $3.99.

William was committed to his calling as a man of the church, but was driven by his need to have an assignment in an exotic land. So when he completed eighteen months as a deacon at St. Mary’s he had hoped rector Dean Roberts, the Dean of the city of London, would provide him with a worthy assignment. Unfortunately, a replacement was immediately needed in a small village in England, after the recent death of the vicar. William makes it appear as if he has moved beyond his desire to be shipped to some faraway land to help establish a church, he simply goes through the motion of leading the people. His heart clearly is not in it, but society has a way of drawing one in. He yearns to have his dear friend Thomas’ post. He was sailing off to foreign lands. While shopping in town, William hears two women talk about the young woman who greeted him with a cake.

Cecilia is a free-spirited artist who is not interested in marrying someone wealthy. Though, that is the natural weave of society during her era. For a young woman to be married into a family of high-standing must be the only goal in her life, according to her parents. Cecilia is more interested in the well-being of her friend, Amy, a servant in the Barrington manor. She goes along with her parents’ request to dance with the Barrington’s son during a social affair. The only problem is this young man takes what he wants and has no ethical care in the world. Because his family is wealthy, he thinks he can do as he wishes and that includes having a sexual relationship with Cecilia’s friend, Amy. Cecilia finds herself deeply concerned about her friend’s future because her reputation has been damaged. She also finds herself attracted to the new vicar. It is difficult being close to him during services and religious school classes for the children. He feels his future is in another country and he’s not willing to settle for being married and fulfilling his mission in the village. But what he wants, and what he feels, are two different things. Then young Barrington’s parents force him to make a more responsible life for himself. And that’s when the book gets really interesting.

I wouldn’t have chosen to read this on my own considering it is a religious Regency. I have to admit that I respected the challenges and attitudes of the main characters and Amy’s, as well. I found the book interesting and looked forward to seeing if Cecilia and William had a chance of finding happiness together. Would William realize that he was on the right path toward his destiny? Would Cecilia be allowed to be the young woman she truly was? Could she marry for happiness instead of a financial arrangement navigated by her mother? I think this book could be a Hallmark TV station movie.

Four out of five social events

Denise Fleischer


September 20, 2015