Charming The VicarCharming The Vicar by Jenny Frame is Bridget’s story. For those of you familiar with books that I rave about, you will know my love for Courting The Countess (where we originally met Bridget as a side character). I loved the book so much that it made the Top 10 Audiobooks Of 2016 list. Of course, that sets a high standard for this one as my beloved characters return but this time with a fresh new story. So the big question on my mind was—will Jenny Frame be able to pull this off, considering how much I loved the first one, or will I be disappointed because my expectations were so high? Read on and all will be revealed.

Bridget is the vicar in the small town of Axedale. She also happens to be lesbian and while being lesbian is fine, you need to be celibate if you want to remain a vicar and be gay. That’s fine for Bridget, since the only other single lesbian in town is a good friend of hers and there is no sexual chemistry between them at all.

Bridget’s carefully constructed and safe world begins to crack when newcomer Finnian Kane rents a cottage in the village. There is something about this master of illusion that draws Bridget to her, despite the devastation that it can cause to her life. Not only is Finn lesbian, but she has spent a lot of her career tearing down religion.

Finn is broken after the loss of her sister and she is trying to escape from the world by hiding out in the small village. Unfortunately, the pesky vicar won’t leave her alone and to make matters worse, the vicar is attractive and Finn can’t stop staring at her legs.

In a story about two women with vastly different beliefs and needs, you will discover deep characters who break the mould and find their own kind of happily ever after.

The Characters

Sheena: This is Frame’s best character work to date. They are layered and flawed and yet relatable.

Bridget is older than Finn and there is a vulnerability to her that makes my heart bleed at times. As a local leader, Bridget is expected to be strong and know all the answers, but when even her church turns on her she is left alone.

Finn has the cockiness that comes from being successful. She knows all the tricks that people use to persuade or win and she can best them all. That is, until she meets Bridget. She is left off kilter when she realises that she can’t always win against this woman and she is not sure if she wants to.

Finn’s vulnerability and need bring out a side of Bridget that she has tried to forget, Mistress Black, and let’s just say that the chemistry is off the charts with these two.

Tara: After Harry and Annie, Bridget was by far my favourite character in Courting the Countess, so I was THRILLED to hear she was getting her own book. I’m so happy that Frame didn’t disappoint, especially in how she developed Bridget’s character. She has a fascinating backstory, coming from a wealthy family filled with quirky and sometimes famous relatives. And while her path from Mistress Black to vicar of Axedale is interesting, I was especially excited by how she embraced that hidden side of herself again.

Bridget is also exactly the kind of Christian I like to see. She’s loving, kind, and challenges others as they need it, without being pushy about her faith or judging others who don’t share it. Who better to tame the atheist, skeptic beast that is Finnian Kane?

I’m a big fan of Finn too. She carries the full weight of her grief after her sister’s death, and watching her grapple with that tugged at my heartstrings. While she may not have been likeable as she shut herself away from the world (and was super rude to my Bridget!), she becomes a truly lovely person as she lets people in and allows them to see her true self rather than the persona she puts on for the world.

The Writing Style

Sheena:  Frame’s writing style matures and grows with every book. I found this one to be more polished than some of her previous works and yet it retains the same charm that is typical of her.

I loved that she really pushed the characters to their limits and I love that she doesn’t pussy foot around it being a butch/femme couple.

You go girl!

Tara: I totally agree with you on this one, Sheena. Frame really pushed herself with Charming The Vicar and it totally paid off in both the romance and the character work. I also appreciate that even though she regularly writes butch/femme characters, no two pairings are the same. Listening to Bridget top the hunky butch Finn, both in and out of the bedroom, gave me shivers.

The Narration

Sheena: Nicola Victoria Vincent does a lovely job with Frame’s books. The characters were clear, the emotions were there and I was entertained from the beginning to the end.

Tara: Nicola Victoria Vincent reading Jenny Frame is one of my absolute, hands down favourite narrator/author pairings in lesfic. I can’t imagine anyone else reading books by her set in the UK and I hope we get many more in the future (like, say, a book for Quinn the farmer?)! I especially appreciate how well Vincent differentiates the characters, because there are so many of them between the leads and all of the supporting cast.

The Pros

Sheena: I liked how different this story was. It really did give Bridget her very own book. Frame wasn’t trying to recreate the magic of Courting The Countess, instead she made this its own thing and that is the sign of a true master.

Tara: Everything? I mean, seriously. Characters I adored, a satisfying romance, fabulous chemistry, and an all around great story. Plus Bridget and her legs and those damn boots she wore. What’s not to love?

The Cons

Sheena: Neither of these were cons for me. However, the role playing was tame so for those who want a BDSM character this is BDSM light. That, of course, makes it appeal to a wider audience.

There are times when the sex is graphic with a strap on and Bridget calls Finn ‘boy’—I was totally okay with this but for those who are not this could be a little bit of a turn off. My advice—read it anyway and just skip those pages.

Tara: I’ll echo Sheena on this one. While I was very happy with the book overall, I expected more full-on BDSM. There’s definitely some dominance and submission happening and that works well, but I’d still call this more of a contemporary romance than anything else.

taras favourite lesbian bookssheena's favouriteannas favourite booksThe Conclusion

Sheena:  Charming The Vicar hasn’t replaced Courting The Countess in my heart but this book has sidled up really close. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so sweet, and the characters were likeable and vulnerable and complex in a way that makes me even more excited about things to come from Frame.

You should absolutely get this as an audiobook because you will want to hear it and the sex scenes were steamy. I was glad that I was wearing earphones at the time.

Tara: While I, too, prefer Courting the Countess a little more than Charming the Vicar, I still loved this one a whole lot. Plus, Bridget is my new favourite of all of Jenny Frame’s characters! If you’re looking for a book that’s sweet, sexy, and will just make you happy, I totally recommend it (especially in audio!).

Excerpt from Charming The Vicar by Jenny Frame

“What is it? I’ve no time—”

Her words died in her throat when she saw who was standing there. Instead of a frumpy grey-haired crone, there was a stunningly good-looking woman in a tight miniskirt, heels, and a biker jacket.

The woman gave her an open smile, and Finn’s eyes dropped to her legs, in that skirt, in those heels. She had always been a leg woman.

“Good afternoon. My name’s Bridget, and I’m vicar here. I just thought I’d pop over to welcome you to the village, check if you were settling in okay, and…”

Finn never heard the rest of the sentence. Her eyes travelled up the vicar’s body and soon were captivated by her lips, and the deep, dark lipstick she wore.

She quickly pulled herself together in time to hear Bridget say, “Is there?”

Finn was lost in the conversation, and her annoyance had returned. “What?”

“I wondered, is there anything you need?”

“I don’t need anything from anyone, and I certainly don’t need ministering to,” Finn replied sharply.

Bridget’s brow furrowed as if she was assessing Finn and how to handle her. “Well, if that’s the case, I’m delighted.” Bridget reached into the pocket of her biker jacket and pulled out a church leaflet. She held it up for Finn to take. Finn did, and as her fingers touched Bridget’s highly polished manicured nails, a jolt of static electricity made them both jump.

Bridget chuckled and said, “As a woman of God, I’d say that was a sign. We’d be happy to see you in church on Sunday, if you would like to join us.”

Finn looked down at the leaflet and saw it contained all the times and information for church services. “I’m gay and an atheist. You wouldn’t want me.”

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.”

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Courting The Countess

Charming The Vicar

Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781635550290
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
  • Narrator: Nicola Victoria Vincent

Jenny Frame Online

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