I came across Ms. Carr completely by accident. I was blog hopping and read a review on the Book Binge. They were raving about the first book in the Virgin River series. I thought I'd give it a try, though it's not usually my type of romance novel. Here's the back blurb-
WANTED: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a 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 re-energize 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.
I thought it sounded interesting, but wasn't really sure of it. I went to B & N a few nights ago & found Virgin River there. I sat down and inhaled it! What can I say about this book? Oh, let me think on it for a second. :)
Let's start with the heroine. Mel is...well, she's cool. She decides basically on the spur of the moment to leave all she knows for a small town in the Northern part of California. Her husband was murdered & everything around her reminds her of him. She wants a fresh start. Friends & family try to talk her out of it, but she's determined.
She gets to Virgin River and everything falls apart. The small cabin she was promised is nothing but a piece of crap & the doctor she was supposed to be helping is a cantankerous old man who wants nothing to do with this young upstart. Mel decides she made a mistake & wants to go home. She goes into the bar for a drink & that's when she meets Jack.
Ah...Jack. A former Marine and now a bar owner, he lives for hunting, beer, and women (not particularly in that order). When he sees Mel, he's knocked for a loop. There's something about her that calls to him & he's determined to know more about her. He's 40 years old, never been close to marriage & has never really wanted anything to do with women, except sleep with them.
Mel brings out a protective side of him he'd never seen before and it's entertaining to watch him stumble over himself trying to impress her.
Where Ms. Carr shines is the town of Virgin River. She makes the small town feel of the town so real. There are some real characters in this little place & she showcases that eccentricity, without making the town a charicature of so many small towns out there. She makes you care, not just for Jack & Mel, but for each one of the people that pass through.
The love story is sweet & romantic. It's also funny & heart-wrenching. She doesn't shy away from writing about dark things like grief or PTSD. It's not something to be glossed over. It's a part & parcel of the people she's created.
My Rating: A-
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