Charming the Vicar
Finnian Kane, famous master of illusion, mentalist, and renowned atheist, has a crisis of faith after her sister’s death. She rents a cottage in the village of Axedale in Kent, desperately trying to find a safe haven from the intrusive media to grieve and work out how to move on. The Reverend Bridget Claremont makes it her mission to help the enigmatic Finnian find her faith in life again. Bridge has long yearned for a life partner, and her best friend’s wedding has intensified that desire. But when you’re a lesbian vicar in a small English village, it’s not easy to find your perfect match.Their chemistry is clear from the start, despite their different beliefs and Bridge insisting Finn isn’t her type. But will the mentalist find the magic that can charm the vicar?Cover Artist: Sheri HalalGenres: Contemporary / Romance

Charming the Vicar Details

TitleCharming the Vicar
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 2018
PublisherBold Strokes Books
ISBN-139781635550306
Rating
GenreRomance, Lesbian, Lesbian Fiction, Glbt, Erotica, Bdsm, Religion

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Charming the Vicar Review

  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    “Charming the Vicar (Axedale #2)” is the sequel to “Courting the Countess”, and is a far better book. The characters are much (much!) more complex and well-developed, the story is interesting, the angst actually makes sense, and the current-day battle for LGBT acceptance by the Church of England was put in human terms wonderfully.I didn’t like “Courting the Countess” much; Countess Harry was annoying, housekeeper, now Lady, Annie was too perfect to be real, and their becoming a loving couple fel “Charming the Vicar (Axedale #2)” is the sequel to “Courting the Countess”, and is a far better book. The characters are much (much!) more complex and well-developed, the story is interesting, the angst actually makes sense, and the current-day battle for LGBT acceptance by the Church of England was put in human terms wonderfully.I didn’t like “Courting the Countess” much; Countess Harry was annoying, housekeeper, now Lady, Annie was too perfect to be real, and their becoming a loving couple felt contrived. But I was intrigued by two characters introduced: motorcycle jacket, leather miniskirt, high heels and red lipstick wearing village Vicar Bridget Claremont (Bridge), and rugged butch farmer Sam McQuade (Quade).As one might guess from the title, “Charming the Vicar” is the story of 36yo Vicar Bridge. And what a story it is. Bridge loves being Vicar, loves God, loves the people in the village of Axedale, but is afraid of ever again loving another person after her heart was broken years ago. At 27yo, famous magician, atheist and butch lesbian player Finnian Kane (Finn) arrives in the village a broken woman after the death of her beloved younger sister. Desperately wanting to believe her sister is in a better place after listening to her die terrified of there not being an after-life, she feels confused and guilty over what she believes of atheism, and what she now wishes she could believe. She hides out in Axedale to escape paparazzi while she grieves and considers what to do with her life. The initial meeting between our MCs doesn’t go smoothly. Bridge is surprised at her reaction to the handsome woman opening the cottage door: Finn was very attractive, in a boyish way. Delicious. What was she thinking? Finn wasn’t her type. It wasn’t that she didn’t find butch women attractive, but just that normally their energies didn’t mix. She was too much of a femme top for most butches. For her part, Finn wants nothing to do with the hot vicar inviting her to church: “I’m gay and an atheist. You wouldn’t want me [to attend church].”Instead of provoking surprise or anger, which was Finn’s intention, Bridget gave her a wink and a quick reply. “So am I—gay, that is—and we can work on the atheist bit.”She’s gay? Axedale had a gay female vicar in heels and a biker jacket? Had she walked into the twilight zone?Finn then slammed the door in Bridge’s face. Through alternating POVs, we see attraction for each other warring with each of them fighting the attraction as they challenge each other to heal. Bridge challenges Finn to face the things she’s lost, her sister, her faith in God, and her love for magic. Finn challenges Bridge to tear down walls she’s built around her, and within herself. Finn tells Bridge: “You are an illusion of your own making…I think you are hiding behind that dog collar, and all the other mumbo jumbo you preach. You’re hiding a part of yourself, a part that will never quite let you go.”“Stop running away from what you feel. That’s what you’ve been preaching to me all this time. I have to face what I’ve lost, and you have to face who you are. Well, perhaps Quade recognized it first, but our MCs are definitely each others type, and their paths to mutual recognition, experimentation, acceptance and commitment makes for a wonderful story. Throughout the story it’s very fun to see Bridget’s long buried dominant kink persona reassert itself, as she battles her need to be celibate to keep her job as Vicar, with her need to be the passionate dominant woman she is. When Finn confesses that with Carrie’s death, “I don’t have anyone to take care of any more”Bridge turned her around and cupped her face. “Maybe you need someone to take care of you for once in your life.” Watching cocky butch Finn cede control to Bridge and accept being taken care of was very well done; with Bridge’s love Finn finds happiness and is no longer angry at God and the world. With Finn's help, Bridge finally recognizes that she can both love God and accept herself as a passionate powerful woman. “Charming the Vicar” does a fantastic job addressing the issue that people should not be forced to make a choice between love, sex and God, and that no religion should demand that anyone make such a choice. As the Church of England seeks to demand such a choice by her, Bridge says: God made us to love one another, not to hate. I don’t remember ever reading/hearing of God being spoken of so lovingly in lesfic; I found it very refreshing to be reminded that it’s people and institutions run by people that promote hate, not God.This is a love story where I believed that the characters fell in love, and are better people being together. Also, as you might guess from Bridge’s love of dominance and kink, the sexual tension and the sexual play between Bridge and Finn is seriously entertaining! Narrator Nicola Victoria Vincent did a fantastic job with “Charming the Vicar”, and made me want to visit Axedale and spend time with the friendly people of the wonderful village. Apparently, there’s only one unattached lesbian left in the village, and with the third book in the “ Axedale” series, “Royal Court”, due to be published December 2018, I hope to learn who it is that Quade finds to join a butch farmer in married life. I certainly hope the audiobook will follow quickly!5* well-earned stars for “Charming the Vicar”; it really is a very sexy, touching and entertaining story that reminds us that Faith, hope, and love are all that matters.
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  • Lexxi Kitty
    January 1, 1970
    Book received from both Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest reviewThe POV:There are two main point of views, both of the main characters, plus a few occasions when minor characters take over for a moment or three.The Characters:Main Characters:Bridget Claremont is a 37 year old vicar in Axedale, a village in Kent England. Bridget keeps telling herself and others (mostly Quade) that she wished to have someone to love in her life. That is until someone does enter her life, whereupon Bri Book received from both Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest reviewThe POV:There are two main point of views, both of the main characters, plus a few occasions when minor characters take over for a moment or three.The Characters:Main Characters:Bridget Claremont is a 37 year old vicar in Axedale, a village in Kent England. Bridget keeps telling herself and others (mostly Quade) that she wished to have someone to love in her life. That is until someone does enter her life, whereupon Bridget remembers that her bishop is an asshole and having a relationship would possibly cost her her job/position/life.Finnian ‘Finn’ Kane, aka another name to be learned by the reader later: A 27 year old stage magician and entertainer who is quite famous and has done shows all over the world. When the book opens Finn is in the middle of an act. Immediately afterwards she’s to have dinner with ‘the woman who has her heart’ (or however that was worded) – Finn’s sister. Whereupon Finn’s world and existence is shocked out of alignment when she learns about an illness. Minor Characters:This is by no means an exhaustive list of all minor characters in the book, just a few of importance: Archie Winchester is the grumpy old man who is super conservative and hates having the local titled person, the Earl, be a woman (Harry), and definitely can’t stand that his vicar is a woman (Bridget) – both lesbians at that! Quade McQuade, or ‘call me Quade’, is a ‘local farmer’ who also works as an estate manager at Axedale (the name of Harry and Annie’s house – the Earl . . . residence and land) – Quade is one of the only other single lesbian in Axedale when the story opens. Harry and Annie (with Riley) were the stars of the prior book and are newly married lesbians (with Riley being Annie’s kid). The Story:Bridget attempts to welcome the newest ‘sheep’ to her village/parish and is constantly rebuffed – sometimes angrily, by this ‘sheep’ aka Finn. In her thoughts Bridget already calls Finn by a word that will later escape into conversation – boy. Finn, for her part, is quite taken with Bridget’s legs, but wants nothing to do with the ‘dog collar’ wearing woman, for religion is bad and dumb. For, you see, Finn has made her life escaping from her father and his horrible work, and made something of a career debunking frauds of all colors – including religious. Finn is the ‘newest sheep’ because she’s just now arrived in Axedale to take a breather and try to grieve after the death of her sister.Bridget and Finn circle each other – both interested and not interested in the other. Complicating matters is the part where Bridget keeps noting that Finn isn’t her type – and the part where vicars are supposed to be celibate and her boss, the bishop, is a massive bigot.The Sex:Sex occurs. Power games break out. The Review:I’d like to leave a review that says, in its entirety: The word ‘boy’ is used 103 times in this book, once in the acknowledgement section, once for boyfriend, but most of the time to refer to Finn. But, alas, that’s not fair to myself or the book and so more must be said. I recognize that boi can used by some lesbians in a certain way - specifically referring to the younger person in a age-gap relationship, but boi wasn't used, boy was.Bridget is 37 to Finn’s 27. Ten years isn’t a huge age gap, though someone of 37 and someone of 27 are normally at different points in their life. Then again, someone of 37 and someone else of 37 could very well also be at different points in their lives so . . bah. I’m not huge on age gap type stories so I had to overcome that specific aspect.Harder to overcome, though, was the constant use of ‘boy’ and Bridget’s constant condescending and degrading actions/attitude toward Finn. Sure, Finn literally has the thought to herself that she’s massively turned on by the condescension and degrading methods of the vicar, but it isn’t easy, for me, to read. To the point that I almost had to just stop reading the book. But, beyond that boy thing, and my constant wonderment at whether I had missed something and Finn was actually either a male and/or transgender in some way, I found the story interesting enough to continue. Though, admittedly, that boy thing kept constantly coming up in ‘good’ scenes and each use of the word would instantly pull me out, shake me like a rapid dog, and beat me with a stick. Needless to say, I did not like that aspect.This is the third book that I have read by Jenny Frame, and, unfortunately, this specific book ends up being my least favorite by Frame (though not my least favorite among the 169 Bold Strokes Books I’ve read).Rating: 3.50December 12 2017
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  • Lex Kent
    January 1, 1970
    This is the second book in the Axedale series. I enjoyed book 1 Courting the Countess, so I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately, this book didn’t really appeal to me personally. The writing was decent, but it was more that it wasn’t to my personal tastes. While this is a Book 2 and the characters mingle in both books, this book’s story was contained enough that you would not have to read book 1 first. Finn is a famous magician, looking for peace and quiet after losing a loved one. Bridget This is the second book in the Axedale series. I enjoyed book 1 Courting the Countess, so I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately, this book didn’t really appeal to me personally. The writing was decent, but it was more that it wasn’t to my personal tastes. While this is a Book 2 and the characters mingle in both books, this book’s story was contained enough that you would not have to read book 1 first. Finn is a famous magician, looking for peace and quiet after losing a loved one. Bridget is the Vicar in the small town that Finn is hiding in. When they meet, Bridge can see Finn is really hurting. Bridge wants to help, but Finn pushes her away. As Bridge slowly cracks the walls of Finn, feelings start to become involved. Is there a chance for love for an openly gay Vicar and a magician? I liked how this book had a gay woman Vicar, and I was looking forward to reading her story. Unfortunately, the secret side of Bridge, was just a little too unbelievable for me. She seemed like such a sweet woman in the first book, I felt like I was reading a new character. She is constantly trying to put Finn in her place and degrade her, I just didn’t see the appeal. The sex scenes were so, so for me. They had the possibility of being really hot and steamy, but it just didn’t work for me. I would also mention there are light BDSM moments. A point Lexxi Kitty brought up in her review, the word “boy” was used by Bridge about Finn over a 100 times. “Boy and not “Boi”. I think it was supposed to be sexy, but it had the opposite effect on me. It was meant more to put down Finn, so it just left me saying huh. This wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really work for me. I have a feeling some people might like this more than I did. I seem to be on a bit of a rollercoaster when it comes to books by Frame; lots of ups and downs. There is one character, from this series, who has not found love yet. She seems like a sweetheart, so if Frame writes a book 3, I will read it. An ARC was given to me by BSB, for a honest review.
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  • Pippa
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsFinn Kane is a famous illusionist and atheist known for debunking religious performers. When her beloved sister dies, she escapes to a small English town to grieve. No longer interested in fast women, and life in general, it is a shock when she finds herself attracted to the local vicar.The Reverend Bridget Claremont is a well-loved vicar in the small parish. She is open about being a lesbian, but it helps when her family has been landed gentry for centuries, and her best friend is the 3.5 starsFinn Kane is a famous illusionist and atheist known for debunking religious performers. When her beloved sister dies, she escapes to a small English town to grieve. No longer interested in fast women, and life in general, it is a shock when she finds herself attracted to the local vicar.The Reverend Bridget Claremont is a well-loved vicar in the small parish. She is open about being a lesbian, but it helps when her family has been landed gentry for centuries, and her best friend is the Lady of the Manor. She is welcoming the new arrival, a prickly magician, when she finds the spark of attraction. Not expecting her alter ego, Mistress Black, to make an appearance while she is wearing the vicar’s dog collar, Bridge finds herself trying to come to grips with her past, and her present.This is predominantly a sweet romance by Frame. The setting and the events are well settled in the small parish, and focus on the minutiae of village life. Bridge is supportive and caring of her parishioners, and welcomes being an integral part of village life. However, there are moments in which the language doesn’t quite fit the sweet romance genre, and Bridge was a little pricklier than I would have expected from a parish priest. There are some quirks though, and they may not suit everyone looking for a sweet lesbian romance.The heart of the romance, and it is a romance, is the dominant/submissive relationship between the two main characters. Bridge was Mistress Black in her younger days, and while the D/S is very light, it is built into the connection between the two characters. This is the first sweet romance I’ve ever read in the D/S area, although there are aspects of the more hard core, especially in terms of language within the sex scenes.I think if it had been a more complex story, or if it had been a clear sweet romance, it would have been a solid four stars from me. I knocked it down half a star because I think it crossed an unexpected boundary and will be harder to find a happy audience as a result.The simple love story required by the sweet romance genre has by necessity reduced the complexity the author has created with the characters and situation presented. Community support for a lesbian vicar may be in the village, but presumably this is the soft and fluffy variety, rather than the Mistress Black variety. It would have been interesting to explore this in a bit more detail within the book. Something else that was simplified was that this was the first time Finn had experienced attraction to a dominatrix, and this could also have been explored in more detail. Certainly, the changes in legislation in the UK, and community support for marriage equality now make this book imaginable in a real sense. Frame has used this as an opportunity to venture into the lesbian vicar territory and it’s a very enjoyable book. It is definitely a sweet romance, and lovely light read as a result.Advanced reading copy provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
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  • MJS
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to like this, I’d enjoyed the first book, Courting the Countess, and Bridget and Quade were intriguing characters in that book that I assumed would get their own stories. Unfortunately the Bridget from the first story is not the Bridget who shows up here. This Bridget is a ‘Mistress’ dressed in vicar’s clothing. Bridget is caring when she’s trying to get Finn to open up, is a wonderful vicar and she loves and is loved by the ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to like this, I’d enjoyed the first book, Courting the Countess, and Bridget and Quade were intriguing characters in that book that I assumed would get their own stories. Unfortunately the Bridget from the first story is not the Bridget who shows up here. This Bridget is a ‘Mistress’ dressed in vicar’s clothing. Bridget is caring when she’s trying to get Finn to open up, is a wonderful vicar and she loves and is loved by the townspeople. She has great friendships with Quade and Harry. But it was like she had a split personality. She cares for her flock, but has no trouble demeaning Finn, and wanting to put her in her place. The juxtaposition drove me nuts. As did the overuse of the term ‘boy’ (I wasn’t sure if Frame actually meant ‘boi’) to describe Finn. First of all, that’s a term you should only use to refer to someone who wants to be referred to that way. Bridget does not bother to ascertain this, just uses it at will, and I assume the reader is just supposed to think Finn is fine with this because she’s butch, but whatever. Bridget’s ‘secret’ is that she’s into S&M, I don’t mind dom/sub stories, but for some reason the whole ‘Mistress’ thing is a huge turn off for me, so this one left me cold in that area too, I actually skipped the sex scenes because of this. I did like that Frame didn’t just hook Quade and Bridget up, although that probably had more to do with being able to make this a longer series, still I liked that in a town of three lesbians, all of them are friends and never wanted to be anything else. Quade gets a lot to do here, and I assume will have her own story (one hopes she gets to retain her current personality in that one). Harry has less to do, but still gets a few pivotal scenes. Overall though, I couldn’t buy into the romance, and most of that was because I only liked Bridget half of the time. 2.5 stars.
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  • Heinerway
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars rounded to 3Boring. A lesbian vicar and a lesbian magician, while appealing as main characters, do not make this story interesting. Unusual, yes. But boring.
  • Dreaming
    January 1, 1970
    I have mixed feelings about Jenny Frame's books. I've listened to two of them as an audiobook and the each of the narrators greatly influenced my enjoyment (or the lack of it). I picked up Charming the Vicar as I liked Courting the Countess and Bridge's character in it, but she was a very different person in this one. Spirituality, religion, bdsm are not really my cup of tea, but as the book progressed I became more and more invested in the story. Many things annoyed me, but my general feeling i I have mixed feelings about Jenny Frame's books. I've listened to two of them as an audiobook and the each of the narrators greatly influenced my enjoyment (or the lack of it). I picked up Charming the Vicar as I liked Courting the Countess and Bridge's character in it, but she was a very different person in this one. Spirituality, religion, bdsm are not really my cup of tea, but as the book progressed I became more and more invested in the story. Many things annoyed me, but my general feeling is good and that's what count in a (romance) book: the way it makes me feel. ARC copy received from NetGalley for an honest review
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  • Rach (Les Rêveur) Forrester
    January 1, 1970
    Charming The Vicar is the second novel in Jenny Frame’s Axedale series and it’s one helluva book. I suggested to all readers to start with the first book in the series Courting the Countess, its also a fantastic novel.I’ve been looking at this blank word document for 10 minutes, trying to form words about how much I loved this book. Here are the words swimming in my head: Sexy, Femme, Vicar that likes kink and Hot Butch Magician that resembles a boy toy! Hell yeah!!! Its probably the sexiest boo Charming The Vicar is the second novel in Jenny Frame’s Axedale series and it’s one helluva book. I suggested to all readers to start with the first book in the series Courting the Countess, its also a fantastic novel.I’ve been looking at this blank word document for 10 minutes, trying to form words about how much I loved this book. Here are the words swimming in my head: Sexy, Femme, Vicar that likes kink and Hot Butch Magician that resembles a boy toy! Hell yeah!!! Its probably the sexiest book I’ve read in a long time but it does not surprise me that it was written by Jenny Frame, her talent for writing just floors me each and every time and she just keeps getting better.So a little about Charming the Vicar…Finn escapes her celebrity lifestyle and heads for the country after the death of her only family. As a famous magician she needs to be where no one knows her and she can repair her broken heart, that place is Axedale. The villagers welcome her with open arms especially the village Vicar, Bridget. With her high heels and leather jacket this Vicar is like no other and Finn is more than a little flummoxed by her. But there is something the Vicar hides and Finn wants nothing more than to reveal her little secret…I talk about chemistry and connections between protagonists often because when I am in their world it needs it to be believeable, like it’s happening to the woman sitting next to me on the bus. When Jenny Frame writes she does just that, but on a deeper level I see the fairy tale elements that give me the hope and the butterflies that keep me turning the page. That’s what’s she’s created with Charming The Vicar because I can see the everyday in this story but I also feel like I’m reading the fantasy.The sex scenes were some of the sexiest, most intimate and quite frankly, sensual I have read in a while. Jenny Frame had me hooked and I re-read a few scenes because I felt like I needed to experience the intense intimacy between Finn and Bridget again. The devotion they showed to one another during these sex scenes but also in the intimate moments was gripping and for lack of a better word, carnal.Well I’m still coming down from reading quite frankly one of the best Jenny Frame books to date. I’m really hoping Farmer Quade is up next because she might tick even more boxes for me… but just now I’m still stuck on that saucy Vicar.Unequivocally 5 stars. Can’t wait to see what Jenny Frame throws our way next.
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  • Kitty Kat
    January 1, 1970
    Jenny Frame really knows how to write the perfect butch. In ‘Charming the Vicar’ she has written 3 very different butches- all of them completely adorable. Finnian Kane is an illusionist grieving over the death of her sister and has moved to Axedale to keep out of the public eye. She is a beautiful boyish butch, an atheist and wants nothing to do with local vicar Bridge’s offer of help. But Bridge is stunningly gorgeous, high femme and with something a wee bit unusual lurking beneath the surface Jenny Frame really knows how to write the perfect butch. In ‘Charming the Vicar’ she has written 3 very different butches- all of them completely adorable. Finnian Kane is an illusionist grieving over the death of her sister and has moved to Axedale to keep out of the public eye. She is a beautiful boyish butch, an atheist and wants nothing to do with local vicar Bridge’s offer of help. But Bridge is stunningly gorgeous, high femme and with something a wee bit unusual lurking beneath the surface. Can Finn keep away? Can Bridge keep her feelings under control when the alternative could lose her all she has worked so hard for?The sexual chemistry between them is unbelievably hot. It is sexy, lustful and with more than a hint of kink. Bridge has an overpowering effect on Finn as her long-hidden sexuality comes to the fore. The scenes between them are highly erotic - and not just the sex scenes. The tension is ramped up so well that I felt the characters would explode if they did not get relief! There is also an emotional intensity to their story that is quite breath-taking and endearing. Bridge is a Church of England Vicar and is expected to remain celibate or she faces losing her job, her home and her place in the village. Finn is so vulnerable and her past has made her reluctant to trust. How they deal with these issues as their feelings grow is very well written. I loved the other characters around them and remembered them well from ‘Courting the Countess’. Harry is one of the other butches I mentioned and is very in control - or so she thinks. Her new wife Annie is the real power behind that particular throne. Their friend Quade is a rugged butch farmer and I so want to find out more about her - and I think we will. She is an adorable character who deserves happiness and love.An excellent book set in the most wonderful village - a place I hope to return to very soon!I was given this ARC by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Rike @ RikeRandom
    January 1, 1970
    Usually can't stand anything with a strong Christian theme but I loved Frame's previous novels so I gave this one a try and was positively surprised. The whole religion thing was done really well. I did have some other problems however. I'm generally not a huge fan of age gaps in relationship. There are only ten years between Bridge and Finn and I might not even have noticed if not for the constant use of 'boy' and the ensuing power play stuff, which I didn't get at all. Okay, that's not quite t Usually can't stand anything with a strong Christian theme but I loved Frame's previous novels so I gave this one a try and was positively surprised. The whole religion thing was done really well. I did have some other problems however. I'm generally not a huge fan of age gaps in relationship. There are only ten years between Bridge and Finn and I might not even have noticed if not for the constant use of 'boy' and the ensuing power play stuff, which I didn't get at all. Okay, that's not quite true, I kind of got it, but it felt quite heavy handed at times and was just a tad too much for my tastes. Still, over all I enjoyed this and I'm really looking forward to more novels in the series (Quade!).
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I actually read this one in ebook form, and then listened to it in audiobook form. I have to be honest and say I love Frame’s books. Before reading this one I also re-listened to Courting the Countess, which is book one in this series. I don’t think you have to read book one, but I would recommend doing so as I think this book will be better. While Frame is one of my favorite go to authors, this is my least favorite of her books. I still enjoyed it, but I enjoyed book one quite a bit more. I lik I actually read this one in ebook form, and then listened to it in audiobook form. I have to be honest and say I love Frame’s books. Before reading this one I also re-listened to Courting the Countess, which is book one in this series. I don’t think you have to read book one, but I would recommend doing so as I think this book will be better. While Frame is one of my favorite go to authors, this is my least favorite of her books. I still enjoyed it, but I enjoyed book one quite a bit more. I liked Bridge better in book one, and I didn’t much care for Finn. I would still recommend this book, and all of Frame’s other books. Quade is going to get a book right? I hope book 3 is on its way.
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  • Stevie Carroll
    January 1, 1970
    Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:I have a bit of a thing for LGBT stories featuring spiritual leaders; I’m not drawn specifically to those involving Church of England clergy, but that does seem to be the faith in which the majority of those protagonists seem to crop up. Rural communities are also a common factor, possibly because it’s trickier both to be different and to meet like-minded people in a village setting, compared to in the big city. Having recently read Beacha Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:I have a bit of a thing for LGBT stories featuring spiritual leaders; I’m not drawn specifically to those involving Church of England clergy, but that does seem to be the faith in which the majority of those protagonists seem to crop up. Rural communities are also a common factor, possibly because it’s trickier both to be different and to meet like-minded people in a village setting, compared to in the big city. Having recently read Beacham’s story about a romance between a female vicar and an atheist, I was keen to see how Jenny Frame tackled a similar set-up, so much so that I read the first book, set in the same village, immediately beforehand, in order to get some idea who all the other residents might be.Bridge Claremont cropped up in the first book as the best friend of one of that book’s heroines, as well as the local vicar. This time around, it’s her turn to fall into a relationship with someone who she considers totally unsuitable. Finnian Kane is renowned for her big stadium magic shows, as well as for her television programmes debunking spiritual healers and other charlatans who prey on the beliefs of the unwary. Following the death of her younger sister, however, Finn worries that her outspoken opinions – greatly at odds with her sister’s New Age beliefs – may have caused hurt at a time when the comfort of that belief was all her sister had left. Finn cancels all her upcoming engagements and retreats to a place where she expects no one to look for her.Bridge and Finn are attracted to each other – and also at odds – from the moment they meet. Bridge is nothing like the clergy Finn has met before: especially the TV evangelist father, now serving a long prison sentence for fraud and attempted murder, that Finn and her sister ran away from as teenagers. Meanwhile, Bridge finds their verbal sparring awakening facets of her personality buried since before she decided to study theology and turn her back on her previous persona of Mistress Black. Although the two turn many of their arguments into rational debates, and are encouraged in their burgeoning relationship – in the absence of Bridge’s best friend and her new wife – by the only other lesbian in the village, they face opposition from at least one of Bridge’s parishioners, not to mention her homophobic bishop.I loved this book so much; Bridge is a wonderfully unconventional vicar, even compared to some of the eccentric clergy I’ve met in my parents’ village. Finn had the potential to be annoying, but she never quite came across that way, and I was delighted by how various of the other characters from the previous book were further developed without ever overshadowing the main protagonists. I was also pleased to see that while Bridge had friends in high places, it was actually her hard work for her current and previous communities that really helped her overcome the opposition to the choices that she made. In a real turn-up for the books, the sex scenes were right up my street too. Of course, now I want to find out if Quade, the lesbian farmer and assistant estate manager, is going to get a romance of her own too.Another auto-buy author to add to my list.
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  • Jasmine
    January 1, 1970
    After the death of her sister, magician Finn Kane moves to the small town of Axedale to escape her fishbowl life and grieve in peace. She doesn't expect to feel an instant attraction to the Vicar of the local church, Bridge Claremont, with legs for days and an intoxicating confidence. Will Finn take a leap of faith for the woman of her dreams? Can Bridge stay faithful to her chosen career and stay true to herself at the same time?I love love love the little world Axedale, Jenny Frame has created After the death of her sister, magician Finn Kane moves to the small town of Axedale to escape her fishbowl life and grieve in peace. She doesn't expect to feel an instant attraction to the Vicar of the local church, Bridge Claremont, with legs for days and an intoxicating confidence. Will Finn take a leap of faith for the woman of her dreams? Can Bridge stay faithful to her chosen career and stay true to herself at the same time?I love love love the little world Axedale, Jenny Frame has created the most beautiful place to fall in love. The whole community is just precious and all the people that live there are wonderful characters. I loved how unique our leading ladies were, complex and beautiful and real. I totally loved Bridge being a Vicar, and the passages of the bible that were carefully woven into the story. I was comforted by the words, I felt almost like Bridge was preaching and healing me personally, not just the characters in the novel. It might not be for everyone, but to me it was something really special about this book.I loved Finn the magician as well, and re-discovering her love for magic with her through the book was just...well...magical.This book wasn't my favourites of Jenny Frame. I found myself a little frustrated by the number of times some words are repeated - "boy", "boyishly handsome", "dog collar". It took me out of the story a little every time I noticed it. There is also some BDSM in the book which isn't entirely for me but it doesn't take away from the fact the author is an extremely talented writer, and this book shines with her exceptional prose. I can't wait for the next book in this charming series, I hope Quade will find the woman of her dreams! I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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  • Jade
    January 1, 1970
    *ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review*I am a fan of this authors work but recently I have become disenchanted with the repetition of her storylines, so I am really glad that I can say that she has finally given her readers a slightly new story.I really liked Bridge's character in the first book so I was excited to see how her story would play out and I have to say that I really enjoyed her complexity.I don't really have an opinion on Finn because she wasn't as much of *ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review*I am a fan of this authors work but recently I have become disenchanted with the repetition of her storylines, so I am really glad that I can say that she has finally given her readers a slightly new story.I really liked Bridge's character in the first book so I was excited to see how her story would play out and I have to say that I really enjoyed her complexity.I don't really have an opinion on Finn because she wasn't as much of a standout for me as Bridge was.The story did drag a bit for me but I still enjoyed it.*3.7 stars
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  • Ije the Devourer of Books
    January 1, 1970
    I did enjoy this. It is a really lovely story and the characters were engaging and they had depth. I don't read many f/f romances but what attracted me to this one is that the main character - Bridget - is a Church of England priest and a vicar in a small country parish. I really wanted to see if the author could write an engaging story about a lesbian 'Vicar of Dibley' and she managed to do it really well. I read a lot of m/m romance and there are just so many with homophobic religious leaders I did enjoy this. It is a really lovely story and the characters were engaging and they had depth. I don't read many f/f romances but what attracted me to this one is that the main character - Bridget - is a Church of England priest and a vicar in a small country parish. I really wanted to see if the author could write an engaging story about a lesbian 'Vicar of Dibley' and she managed to do it really well. I read a lot of m/m romance and there are just so many with homophobic religious leaders but this story breaks that mould because it shows the complexity of sexual orientation within a religious community and how that actually plays out in real life. I think the author managed to portray this complexity really well and it felt very authentic. Another delightful aspect of this story is the love the vicar has for her parishioners and her country village.Bridget Claremont came to faith as she worked her way through a personal crisis, years later she finds herself working as a vicar in a country parish. She is utterly devoted to her parishioners and to the village but deep within her she desires a love of her own especially when she sees how happy her friend Harry is. Finnian Kane is an avowed atheist. She has come to Axedale to recover from the loss of her much loved sister but she hates everything to do with religion because she grew up with a father who used religion to exploit people. Finnian is irritated by the Reverend Bridget but as she gets to know Bridget she realises that not only is Bridget a woman of depth and love, but Bridget has a way of meeting Finnian's own need for healing and for peace.There is a growing and strong attraction between the two women which has the potential to burst into fiery passion but Bridget realises that if she explores a relationship with Finnian it will put her on a path of conflict with the Church of England and especially with her Bishop who is homophobic and sneaky and doesn't like her at all. Finnian believes that this is an opportunity for her to have a new life in Axedale but she recognises that the cost might be too high for Bridget to pay. Bridget is a priest with a very deep faith in God and Finnian knows that she will need to reconcile her disbelief and her painful past if she is to find love with Bridget. Bridget knows that if she is to develop a relationship with Finnian she will need to reconcile the passionate side of her nature which she has buried under her persona and identity as a priest.I have to say as someone who is a priest I thought this book was really well written and it was enjoyable as well. I think there were some things that were a bit over the top, so the Bishop being the bad guy and the sneaky, mean and snooping parishioner were a bit exaggerated. I think that the reality is that anti gay bishops would be a lot more subtle than that. Also, I am not sure why Bridget kept calling her Bishop 'Lord'. This story about a vicar and a hardened atheist falling in love was a real treat. No only did it have two excellent lead characters, but it was well researched and the characters felt well developed and real. I don't think I warmed to the domination aspect of their relationship. That's another area that felt a bit exaggerated. Although it showed a different part of Bridget's personality, I thought it was a bit overdone in some ways.The most enjoyable aspect of the story was to have two strong female lead characters who didn't allow others to oppress them, but who were at the same time open and honest with the challenges before them and the need to reflect and explore those challenges. In that way the book wasn't full of anxiety but it was really two people doing what two people would do in reality.I also enjoyed the way the story portrayed Bridget's faith. It felt very real and she came across as deeply compassionate the kind of person that you would actually want to have as your vicar. Her past life was an interesting contrast with her present and yet she herself didn't see any conflict in the two just the need to try and reconcile past and her present and bridge the gap.This is actually book 2 in the series but can be read as a standalone I really enjoyed it and it left me wanting more. I shall definitely be checking out other books by this author because this one was just such a pleasure to read.Copy provided by Bold Stroke Books via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    Bridget, a stiletto wearing clothes horse with a clerical collar, is a vicar in a small village and is happily ensconced in her beliefs, her village, and her place in the world, but she's hiding a secret. When Finn, a celebrity magician, arrives on her motorcycle, the vicar knocks on Finn's door wanting to help the lost sheep. Things do not get off to a good start. The two women could not be more opposite. Over the course of their burgeoning relationship, Finn deals with her troubles while Bridg Bridget, a stiletto wearing clothes horse with a clerical collar, is a vicar in a small village and is happily ensconced in her beliefs, her village, and her place in the world, but she's hiding a secret. When Finn, a celebrity magician, arrives on her motorcycle, the vicar knocks on Finn's door wanting to help the lost sheep. Things do not get off to a good start. The two women could not be more opposite. Over the course of their burgeoning relationship, Finn deals with her troubles while Bridget releases her secret. In order to be together, they both must deal with the vicar's homophobic Bishop.I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was nothing I expected when I pulled it from my to-be-read pile. I love to be surprised by authors. This author has created two unexpected characters who are both believable and charming while the plot is unique and sure to fascinate readers.Jenny Frame has penned a book that is sure to keep you reading into the wee hours of the night.
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  • Cheryl Shrock
    January 1, 1970
    Do not let the cover of this book deceive you. This is no quaint little story. Yes the village life and villagers are wonderful but the story explodes with grief, anger, religion and yes...a lot of S and M. The story tantalized you with a forbidden romance, and many likeable characters. Clever dialog, interesting story line. I enjoyed it and recommend it.
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  • Gail
    January 1, 1970
    ARC rec'd from NetGalley/Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.I read through the night unable to put this book down. A story with Bridget(sexy Vicar) and Finn (Magician) which is definitely not run-of-the-mill. An unexpected romance with sex and religion that may not appeal to all - just open your hearts and let the story in.Ms Frame never disappoints and usually surprises me.4.5 stars.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    more than 4 less than 5 stars rounded up Jenny Frame knows how to craft a good plot with strong and interesting characters. This one was not quite a 5 stars novel like Unexpected, but still a great and entertaining read. I'm totally looking forward to her next book.eARC via NetGalley
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  • Kennedy
    January 1, 1970
    I did not realize there was an Axedale #1. In my opinion, it did not matter. I had difficulty connecting with this read. I enjoyed the two main characters that wanted to make a different in the world around them in their own unique way Reverend Bridget Claremont, from a prominent family with an interesting background that was not appealing to me. Finnian Kane, illusionist, dealing with a loss. The challenges Bridget and Finnian faced were external and internal with the overarching question, how I did not realize there was an Axedale #1. In my opinion, it did not matter. I had difficulty connecting with this read. I enjoyed the two main characters that wanted to make a different in the world around them in their own unique way Reverend Bridget Claremont, from a prominent family with an interesting background that was not appealing to me. Finnian Kane, illusionist, dealing with a loss. The challenges Bridget and Finnian faced were external and internal with the overarching question, how and will they address them?ARC provided by Bold Strokes Books via NetGalley.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    This book just couldn’t hold my interested.... I’m not sure if it was because of the characters or the setting or the writing or a mix of all of it but it just wasn’t for me. I can’t really pinpoint why it didn’t appeal to me but it just didn’t.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to love the first book in this series, Courting the Countess, but it only partially worked for me. I had a similar reaction to this one and I'm still trying to figure out why. On the one hand, I'm a sucker for quaint English village settings and I like the sense of community in this one, and Bridge was a character who intrigued me when she first showed up in this series. And I thought the main characters in Charming the Vicar had more depth and complexity than the main characters I really wanted to love the first book in this series, Courting the Countess, but it only partially worked for me. I had a similar reaction to this one and I'm still trying to figure out why. On the one hand, I'm a sucker for quaint English village settings and I like the sense of community in this one, and Bridge was a character who intrigued me when she first showed up in this series. And I thought the main characters in Charming the Vicar had more depth and complexity than the main characters in Courting the Countess. On the other hand, I felt like the layers of Bridge's character weren't quite...integrated with each other, somehow. If I'm reading about someone who used to be a dominatrix and then had a crisis, turned to religion, and wound up as a vicar, I actually want to know a lot more about her relationship with God. (Which is kind of ironic, given that I'm about as religiously inclined as Finn!) There are some repetitive bits -- the "boy" thing didn't bother me as much as it did some people, but some elements of exposition get dropped in several times, a little awkwardly. And the conflict with Bridge's bishop and the homophobic parishioner was too cartoon-villain-y for my tastes.(Also, I have no objection to reading about kink, but I just wanted to grab both characters by the collar and yell "for heaven's sakes TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO BEFORE YOU DO IT, because CONSENT IS IMPORTANT!")...On yet another hand, if there's a book 3 in this series I'll read it, because Quade intrigues me and I want to know what her story is.
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  • Katrina
    January 1, 1970
    This was an excellent book. I went back to read the first in the Axedale series and I did not enjoy either harry or Annie but Riley was great. This book though pulled me in from the start. I loved the Vicar and the authors descriptions of her were so good I could clearly see her in my mind. I also loved Finn. What a great troubled character. This book had a great plot, great characters both the protagonists and the secondary characters like Martha. It was heart wrenching to read about Finn’s str This was an excellent book. I went back to read the first in the Axedale series and I did not enjoy either harry or Annie but Riley was great. This book though pulled me in from the start. I loved the Vicar and the authors descriptions of her were so good I could clearly see her in my mind. I also loved Finn. What a great troubled character. This book had a great plot, great characters both the protagonists and the secondary characters like Martha. It was heart wrenching to read about Finn’s struggles, but I thought they weren’t really flushed out too much. I thought the Vicars past with the unrequited Love was not a great story or reason to become a Vicar, it just seemed a bit thin. I liked he S&M angle though I definitely didn’t see that coming. I guess the next book will be about Quade and I hope she finds someone awesome and not some crazy wealthy person like everyone else in this series seems to be.
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  • Jane Ware
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!An amazing, can't stop reading book! I laughed and cried with the characters who felt like old friends. Their hopes and struggles became my own. I can't wait for more.
  • Manousmile
    January 1, 1970
    Whouaaa !!! What a book!!! I loved it!!! Thank you miss Frame!! I knew I loved the story of Bridget, it was very sweet and my!!! Very hot 😊😋...Now I want to know the story of this butch farmer 😉
  • M.V.
    January 1, 1970
    GoodLoved the book I always like this author stories her books r always fun to read and author seems to pay great attention to detail and makes it almost believable
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