Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Village Vicar a wonderful and feel-good novel.  You can find out what I thought about this lovely book below, as well as see more about the author and some buy links below too, but first I would just like to thank Amy from Head of Zeus for the chance to be a part of this tour and for a free copy of the book. 🙂  Now let’s find out why I enjoyed reading this…

Title: The Village Vicar
Author: Julie Houston
Cover illustrator: Robyn Neild
Publisher: Head of Zeus (an Aria book)
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Book format: Paperback
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Description:  Three devoted sisters… One complicated family.
When Rosa Quinn left her childhood home in Westenbury, she never expected to return over a decade later as the village vicar.  But after a health scare and catching her boyfriend cheating, Rosa jumps at the chance to start over and live closer to her triplet sisters Eva and Hannah.
But Rosa’s isn’t the only old face in the village, and when her role in the parish throws her into the path of her ex, she begins to wonder if she’s made a terrible mistake.  Meanwhile, Eva and Hannah face their own troubles, as secrets about their family threaten to emerge.
Can Rosa make a life for herself in Westenbury?  Or will the sisters discover you can’t run away from the past?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is such heart-warming and lovely read!  Rosa Quinn is the new vicar of the village of Westenbury and is moving back to the village which she grew up in.  But while Rosa struggles to get used to life as the new vicar after all she’s been through in the past few years, her triplet sisters Eva and Hannah have their own problems too.  With the three sisters being somewhat famous in the village for the unique circumstances of their birth, life as the new village vicar doesn’t get any easier for Rosa when an old ex of hers decides to move back to the village too, and Rosa is troubled not only with her emotions but the memories of her past too.

This is such a brilliant book which had me hooked after I got into it.  The book begins in 1984 and follows Alice Parkes as she returns home to Westenbury after having to make a quick escape from Paris.   Being the vicar’s daughter Alice isn’t like her sister Susan who the vicar adores and ends up disappointing her father at every turn and she soon ends up trying to forget her troubles by attending the party of a well-known man in the area.  I like how this story begins in the 80s as we learn more about Alice and her sister Susan and the Reverend Cecil Parkes who you just can’t help but dislike from the start.  The story was interesting and I could see how this was a back story into how the three triplets came to be and I don’t want to spoil it by saying any more.

After a few chapters set in 1984, the story then shifts back to 2021 as Rosa is entering the vicarage having taken over the role of vicar of the village of Westenbury, her childhood home.  I have to admit that it did take me a bit of time to really get into this story, and while I enjoyed the tale of Alice’s from the start, it did feel like the story was a bit slow going as it suddenly shifts to the modern day and, after getting to know Alice and Susan, we now had to get to know all of the new characters of Rosa, Eva, Hannah and the people in their lives.  As a result it took me a bit of time time before I really got into this story, however after a few chapters this book became so enjoyable and I just couldn’t put it down after that!  I love the three triplets Rosa, Eva and Hannah and the different circumstances they find themselves in and the relationships they have with their parents and the unique circumstances of their birth.  I love how, as the story unfolds, we find out that not all is well in each of the siblings lives and all three of them are dealing with some difficult personal problems particularly with relationships.

A lot happens in the story and although I enjoyed getting to know each of the triplets and their tales, I have to say that it is Rosa’s story that had me the most interested and at some point there are some flash back chapters to show you what happened to her six years earlier, before she was a vicar, and I really enjoyed reading about her past.  As the book went on I thought I knew what would happen.  Contemporary tales like this usually have an air of predictability in them, but I have to say that when it came to this book, I really didn’t know what would happen and was pleasantly surprised when several times I thought I knew how the story would go only to be surprised that something very different happened.

The story is more serious than I was led to believe with the blurb, however there are some genuinely funny and silly moments too.  I especially love the way some of the parishioners act and certain conversations Rosa ends up having with some of the other characters.  The story builds up to a brilliant ending with quite a few amazing revelations I wasn’t expecting and I found myself pleasantly shocked and surprised with some of the things we end up discovering about the family and what happens to them.  The story doesn’t have anything too upsetting to read about.  There are some deaths mentioned and a brief mention of sex and a few uses of the f and s swear words, however this was infrequent and overall the story doesn’t have anything really upsetting in it.

Overall this book is amazing.  Things build up towards the ending with so many amazing surprises and things revealed and I couldn’t help but love what was happening to all of the characters.  The final ending is brilliant, so heart-warming and perfect, and I just love how everything works out for everyone in the end.  Although this book was a bit slow for me at the start and it did take me a bit of time to really get into it with all the different characters, I just couldn’t put it down after a few chapters and I would recommend this book for anyone interested in a good contemporary feel-good story and romance set in a village.  It’s a book that will certainly keep you turning the pages and loving every moment of Rosa, Eva and Hannah’s lives!

Buy the Book

The Village Vicar book cover

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About the Author

Julie Houston author pic

Julie Houston lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. Julie is married, with two adult children and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book –preferably with Dev Patel in attendance.

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Blog Tour Banner

I hope you have enjoyed my stop on the blog tour for this lovely book!  Do check out the other stops on the blog tour by checking out the banner below, or search for #TheVillageVicar on social media especially twitter and instagram. 🙂

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What do you think of this book?  Do you like books set in villages?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂