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Monday, April 28, 2008:
"Virgin River" by Robyn Carr (2007) - review

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Mira (April 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778324907
ISBN-13: 978-0778324904

Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against the backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal-clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.

When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she's made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.

But a tiny baby, abandoned on a front porch, changes her plans…and a former marine cements them into place.

Melinda Monroe may have come to Virgin River looking for escape, but instead she finds her home.
This was another book recommended by Kati, and it was a good one. I didn't go all out and fall completely in love with it, but it was well worth my reading time.

Mel suffered a devastating loss, one that has her leaving her dangerous job in Los Angeles to move to what she thought was the quiet, safe town of Virgin River. She needs a complete change, but when she gets there, it's nothing what she expected, and she doesn't think she can handle just how out of her element she is.

But life has a way of bringing people into your life that make you stop and think before moving on. First, an abandoned baby girl melts Mel's heart, and she knows she cannot leave until someone comes to claim her. Then, one by one, the residents of Virgin River work their way under her skin, from the sexy ex-marine Jack to the cranky and proud doctor. Mel is still grieving for her husband, but she's slowly brought back to life again by her calling, midwifery, and by the people who she now calls friends.

She learns to live without the modern conveniences she was used to in the big city: regular highlights, Starbucks, designer boots. And living in the beautiful country is not like something out of Mayberry; she faces unknown dangers and a different way of life than she's used to. But the challenges and uncertainty help heal her heart, and she soon discovers a greater love than anything she ever thought she'd know, and a lot of people who make her feel needed and cherished, and soon the idea of leaving becomes unimaginable.

My thoughts:

Great contemporary story, and I enjoyed it very much. I loved that it didn't need to rely on suspense or paranormal elements, but just a straight romance that charmed me for being an extraordinary love story set in the real world. It didn't captivate me as completely as it did some other readers, but I definitely loved the world Robyn Carr created, and it is definitely a place I'd go to visit again. She writes about people with realistic problems, and no one is so perfect that you feel you're reading about characters you can't relate to.

And come on, who didn't fall at least a little bit in love with Jack, who was so perfect for Mel, and though overly protective, he was so open to the woman she was, and loved her unconditionally. Jack was wonderfully real, honest, but he had demons from the past that still haunted him. I didn't quite warm up to Mel as much but I think it was because she came across as a little cavalier when it came to Jack, though it was more of a protective gesture than anything else. She tried to distance herself from Jack and the people of Virgin River because she was scared of losing those she cared about again, but eventually she came around, and so did I. By the end of the book, I knew that Mel was going to make Jack as happy as he made her, and that they truly had something special, something you don't find everyday, something worth fighting for. That was all that mattered.

I have the other 2 books in this series, and I'm ever so glad I got them all at the same time. What a sweet departure from some of the heavy, gritty, and/or action-packed books I've been reading lately. Not that I don't enjoy a suspenseful, wild story, but sometimes it's nice just to have the basics to fall back on, something simple and real. This sure fits the bill.

Rating: **** out of *****

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  1. I totally agree with your review, Stacy. I just finished this one. I was somehow prepared to not really love it, and I enjoyed it tremendously! And you're right, I did fall in love with Jck. How could you not - he was such a great guy.

  2. That is a great trilogy. I am glad that you enjoyed it.

  3. I'm so glad you spent some time in Virgin River, Stace. Even if you didn't enjoy it as much as me. I think you're right, what worked on SO many levels for me was the fact that this is straight contemporary. No witches, vamps, weres, suspense, time travel. Nothing. It's the power of the story that moves it forward. I'm thinking that maybe the reason this series worked so well for me is that I was getting kind of worn out with everything I was reading. It was like a breath of fresh air.

    I'm beside myself waiting on the next three in the series that will come out next year.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the books too!

  4. Has anyone read the previous books? I notice that they are about the already married characters. Just curious.

  5. I've been meaning to order them, but I've had a hard time finding her books in bookstores. Every time I do I buy one, but they're not easy to find.

  6. I completely agree with what you've said, Stacy! As far as a little in love with Jack ~ I fell a lot in love with Jack when he and Mel were in the rain :-)

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