The Vicarage Bench Anthology

The Vicarage Bench Anthology_MimiBarbour_16162143

A RED ROSE, A WHITE ROSE AND A PINK ROSE

4 STARS

In the small village of Bury, England, a rose bush grows behind a bench outside the church vicarage. That rose bush is special, and not just because it blooms in three different colors – red, white and pink. That rose bush has the ability, with the prick of one of its thorns, to transport the spirit of one person into another person’s body. That prick also leaves the body of the soul traveler comatose.

In the first story of the anthology, “She’s Me,” the bush works its magic on Jenna McBride, a bratty supermodel, and Lucy McGillicuddy, a dowdy librarian. Dr. John Norman, the town’s new physician, and Jake Dadson, Jenna’s manager, work hard to solve the problem of the co-joined spirits, but the red rose has other plans for the time being. And those plans include a total psychological makeover for both women and a dual romance, Dr. Norman with Lucy and Jake with Jenna. Those plans also include Dr. Tobias Andrews, an area psychiatrist, who is destined to solve the mystery of how to separate the spirits.

The second story, “He’s Her,” involves a powerful but bitter Las Vegas casino owner, Rhett Parks, and Carrie Temple, a schoolteacher who is treated like a doormat because she continually tries to be nice. When Carrie pricks her finger on a rose thorn, she drops the rose as she slips dizzily onto the bench. When Rhett, who is sitting on that same bench, picks up the rose Carrie dropped, the thorn also pricks him. And, voila! Rhett’s spirit is now lodged firmly in Carrie’s brain. When bitter and angry must live in the same body with sweetness and light, something has to change. And the rose, with Dr. Andrews’ help, has plans for just that.

In the third story, “We’re One,” Ashley Parks, the brother of Rhett Parks, finds himself needing to save the woman he loves from the maniacal enforcer of a rival Las Vegas casino owner. Knowing what happened to his brother – and the HEA that Rhett and Carrie achieved – by way of the rose bush, Ashley flees with Crystal Davis to Bury, England, Dr. Andrews, the vicarage bench and the thorns of the pink rose bloom. Unfortunately, Ashley doesn’t tell Crystal what he’s going to do before he does it and she is not pleased, not a bit happy at all, when she finds her spirit looking out through Ashley’s eyes. And when the sociopathic enforcer and his partner fall into the rose bush while chasing Ashley/Carrie, both getting pricked by the same bloom, the story takes on a whole new twist. Dr. Andrews and the rose bush have their work cut out for them this time!

It is important for the reader to know that this anthology is a collection of sequential short stories. The first entry is very short, about 50 pages, while the second and third are about 85 pages each. And neither the second nor third entries are standalones. The events presented in them presume that you have read the first story and no synopsis of previous events or any backstory of previous characters is provided in subsequent entries.

The whole anthology can be read in a day. However, I honestly feel that you will enjoy the series more if you read the entries over three different days.

Cover Art From Goodreads

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