VIRTUE AND VICE
Rating: 4 cups
Elinor is a beautiful heiress of twenty seven years. She is not married and has turned down many suitors since her come out. Her uncle is desperate for her to marry, but she just wants to start a charity school.
Gideon is the son of the local squire. As a second son he had a choice between the church and the army and chose to be a vicar in his home parish. His occupation does not stop him from drinking and brawling and he is still a bachelor at more than thirty.
Elinor has refused the suits of many men due to her fear of death in childbirth. Elinor needs the support of the local vicar to make her charity school a success, but said vicar is less than godly. She first makes his acquaintance when he is involved in a barroom brawl and next sees him in the pulpit with a black eye. He gives the opinion that the poor do not need to learn to read, making Elinor’s job even more difficult. Her old friend Harriet and new friend Perdita seek to smooth her way, but the vicar and the schoolmistress continue to strike sparks off of each other.
Ms. Warady always writes great Regency romance, and this one is no exception. The characters are interesting, not without flaws, but very sympathetic. The plot is fast moving and easily held my interest. The brawling vicar with the frizzy red hair is an unlikely hero, but he quickly grew on me. Elinor is a bit obsessive with her fears, but her uncle is also a bit pushy in his zeal to marry her off. I can see stubbornness as much as fear in her refusal to marry here. There are many interesting characters in the village of Axminster, and Elinor definitely improves the place. I particularly liked Perdita and Harriet. They are both far more than they seem on the surface, as are most of the other characters as well. Though not set in London, readers of Regency romance are going to adore this story.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More