The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwood | Book Review

What is it about Regency England that I can’t help but love? Novels set in that time are always so captivating. I get caught up in society (even though I wouldn’t last 7 seconds), dances, Lords and Ladies and everything in between. And this debut novel from Charlotte Brentwood fit the bill perfectly!

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.

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What a pleasant novel this was! It’s such a sweet story between Cecilia and William and their road together. I liked each of their personalities too – they were unique and I enjoyed seeing how their personality affected some of what happened in the novel.

There’s also a colorful cast of secondary characters who bring even more to the novel (whether because you don’t like them or because you love them) with their antics and the different ways they interact with William or Cecilia. In their own ways, they help the reader understand our two leads more.

I believe there are books to come (featuring other characters from this novel), so I am eagerly awaiting those!

Who is one of your favorite Regency era authors?

(Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Fun Finds for the Booknerd #27

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This has nothing to do with the post today, but I’m super excited because tomorrow my parents and brother arrive in the great state of Texas! There shall be eating friends, there shall be eating! The last time they were out here was a couple years back, so I’m looking forward to exploring other parts of Austin and relaxing!

Now onto Fun Finds.

1. But First Tea Kitchen Print. This is so simple, yet so perfect. $5.00

2. Like a Book Thermal Mug by Kate Spade. Whether you love coffee or tea, I must say this is perfect for both! $18.00

3. Book Club Notepad. I love notepads. I use them all the time at work and home. This looks like the perfect notepad to write down ideas for book club! $4.00

4. Jane Austen Jewelry Set. Isn’t this the cutest? I can already see the outfits this would go so well with…$33.00

5. I am Looking for Someone to Share in an Adventure Custom LOTR Wood Sign. If this isn’t the perfect sign for a personal library, then I quit at picking library signs. It’s just awesome all all levels! $38.00

What’s happening fun in your world?

If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath | Inklings Series Discussion

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(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)

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If you are looking for an introduction to C.S. Lewis, this book is a great place to start. Not only because you get some facts about Lewis’ life, but also an overview of his thoughts on faith, life and why he wrote many of the books he did. There’s also discussion on what Lewis’ writings mean for us today. I really enjoyed it and now I really can’t wait to get more of his books!

“Lewis does not try to prove the existence of God on purely rational grounds. His approach is much more interesting. Instead of launching an argument for the existence of God, Lewis invites us to see how what we observe in the world around us and experience within us fits into the Christian way of seeing things. Lewis’s genius as an apologist…lay in his ability to show how a Christian viewpoint was able to offer a more satisfactory explanation of common human experience than its rivals, especially the atheism he had once himself so enthusiastically advocated.”

I really enjoyed reading how all of Lewis’ experiences shaped the stories he wrote, his faith and how he shared his faith with the world. Have I mentioned he was a genius?

Lewis’ writings have shaped me in so many ways, so it was nice to read from someone who could articulate why Lewis and his writings are so amazing.

“One of the reasons Lewis embraced Christianity is that it helped him to discern meaning in life. Life is about more than just understanding things: it is about being able to cope with ambiguity and bewilderment, and about finding something worthwhile to give us direction and meaning.”

Okay, one more quote about his writing: “His approach could be described as enabling the believer to hear the harmonics of the cosmos, and to realise that it fits together aesthetically.”

The two chapters on Narnia were some of my favorite, because, as McGrath points out, through the stories of Narnia, Lewis shows truths instead of just telling us. I knew my love for Narnia was legit! ; ).

“These evocative stories affirm that it is possible for the weak and foolish to have a noble calling in a dark world…that there is indeed something beautiful and wonderful at the heart of the universe; and that this may be found, embraced, and adored.”

Can Narnia be real? PLEASE INTERNET!

Alright! Here’s a few discussion questions. Feel free to answer any or all, and of course include your own thoughts!

1. After reading this, is there a book of Lewis you really want to read?
For sure I am excited to read The Weight of Glory. I’m also interested in The Abolition of Man, since he was so fired up about the topic.

2. Did you have a favorite “lunch” (chapter)?
I enjoyed the first chapter about Narnia – I thought it profound that Narnia was written when Lewis’ life was at an all-time low. Plus I loved hearing Lewis’ response about Narnia: “Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia, and that the Son of God, as he became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.”

“One of Lewis’s great achievements in Narnia is to help us understand that we live in a world of competing narratives. In the end, we have to decide for ourselves which is right. And having made that decision, we then need to inhabit the story we trust. Lewis help us deal with both questions.”

3. Any other thoughts?
I will forever be sad about the direction of Tolkien and Lewis’ friendship. Sigh….

I’ll end with this beauty of a quote:
“Perhaps one of the lessons that we can learn from Lewis is that apologetics is at its best when it makes people wish that Christianity is true – by showing them its power to excited the imagination, to make sense of things, and to bring stability, security, and meaning to life.”

Announcing June’s #HedlundChallenge2015 | Hearts Made Whole

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(The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!)

I’m super excited to not only announce this post, but also mix things up (that’s been my theme lately : ) with a giveaway of our next read! It releases in a couple of weeks and I CAN’T WAIT!! So here’s a bit more about it!

Hearts Made Whole

1865 – Windmill Point, Michigan

Can She Forgive the Hurting Man Who Costs Her the Role She Loves?

After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation–the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he’s unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?

Discussion Date: June 23, 2015

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD.com

Next week we’re discussing Love Unexpected over at Cassie’s blog, so be sure to join us then! We’re also going to do something a little different since Jody is so awesome! Do you have questions about Love Unexpected or this series? Post them in the Facebook Group and Jody will pop over and answer them before we post next week’s discussion! Isn’t that the best? So be sure to join the group here!

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4 Questions with Award Winning Kristy Cambron | Author Interview + Giveaway

In case you missed my reviews of Kristy Cambon’s novels, I’ll just say it’s safe to say I’m a fan. Her books are heart-wrenching, yet so incredibly beautiful! I count down the days until her next novel. So of course I’m SOOOOO excited to host her on the blog for a 4 Questions! She’s awesome and I hope you enjoy! Oh and don’t miss out on the giveaway at the end!

Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut historical novel, THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN (Thomas Nelson, 2014), was named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books of 2014, Family Fiction’s Top Ten Novels of 2014, and received nominations for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Novel of 2014 and the 2015 INSPY Awards for Best Debut Novel. Her second novel, A SPARROW IN TEREZIN (Thomas Nelson, April 2015), was named Library Journal Reviews’ Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction, February 2015) and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews.

Kristy is an Art/Design Manager at TheGROVEstory.com and holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

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And y’all – we’re mixing things up with this 4 Questions! Enjoy!

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?

Here’s a bit about what’s next! Yay!

Isn’t she the best y’all?! Thank you so so much Kristy! So glad to hear from you and get to introduce you to my readers!

You can connect with Kristy at:
Facebook: Kristy Cambron | Twitter: @KCambronAuthor | Instagram: kristycambron
Pinterest: KCambronAuthor | Web: KristyCambron.com | TheGROVEstory.com

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