The story opens in the country parsonage of Dr. Primrose, a kindly man who has a good heart, a good family, and a good income. Suddenly, his idyllic life is cruelly devastated by a series of misfortunes, and he ends up in prison. Yet, despite all this calamity and injustice, the vicar never loses sight of Christian morality, a conviction which lends him genuine nobility and, in the end, also brings justice and the restoration of his family and fortune.
Through this simple, almost fairy-tale plot, Goldsmith gives us a charming comedy. It is not a novel of sentiment but an artful send-up of many of the familiar literary conventions of his day: the pastoral scene, the artificial romance, the unquestioning stoic bravery of the hero—all culminating in a gloriously improbable dénouement.
Narrators include: Susan McCarthy, Tim King, Kevin Kennedy, James Aylward, Lou Spiegel, Lauralee Westaway, Linda Montgomery, Al Bedrosian, David Thorn, and Bobbie Frohman.