William Brook is an ambitious, young clergyman seeking an adventurous life of helping people find their way around the world. Unfortunately, he is assigned a living in a small village where everyone knows everyone’s business, and the mothers are hungry to marry off their eligible daughters. William plans to keep his head down, do his job, and remain a bachelor until his miserable residency is up.
Cecilia Grant is an independent, free-spirited girl who is no hurry to be married off. Her mother, on the other hand, has other plans. She is adamant about finding Cecelia a suitor, and goes to great lengths in an attempt to secure a proposal for her. She knows her mother would view the new vicar as an unsuitable match, but there is something intoxicating about him. He is so brooding, and mysterious, and he begins to haunt her thoughts.
William Brook tries hard to not fall for Cecilia. He isn’t going to be sticking around for long, after all. He doesn’t have time to get involved with someone, even if he is being encouraged to marry someone from the village. However, he soon finds himself drawn into the lives of Cecilia and her best friend.
Dark secrets are revealed in the small village, including an event in William’s life that threatens to end his career for good. Will he be able to clear his name? Can he help Cecilia’s friend? Most of all, what is to be done about his feelings for her?
I absolutely adored this novel. It’s a beautiful, historical version of boy-meets-girl that manages to never fall into the dreaded classification of “cliché and predictable.” The narrative is wonderfully written, with exquisite attention to detail. Brentwood has a definite talent for showing, without telling too much.
I loved that Cecilia, while she is the heroine of the story, doesn’t lose her strong self-identity just because of romantic possibilities. She stays true to her personality, and even grows along the way. William does the same thing, possibly even to a larger extent. He was whiny and bitter at the beginning, but soon falls into his role with gusto. He definitely matures during his residency in the small village, and we clearly see that as the reader.
I’ve never been one to “fall” for a religious man, but William Brook is likely to get fans fluttering and cheeks flushing. Dare I say he’s a strong contender against the famous (and my literary love) Mr. Rochester?
There is no doubt about it, this is a 5 out of 5 star read. I’m greatly looking forward to the sequels, and highly recommend potential readers to grab a copy. It’s affordable, and completely worth the money.
Charlotte Brentwood writes beautiful historical romances of love everlasting.
5 of 5 Stars, Review by Alexia Bullard