Monday, April 02, 2007

Review: Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Too many books to read and review and so little time! March was an awesome reading month and I hope April will be as good! Although I doubt ^^; but still, let's hope.

Hmmm, lately, I've been looking for a change of pace... I got a bit tired of "sexy," fast-paced books and have been looking for something slower, kind of old-style... I guess I shouldn't say "old-style." However, when I say "old-style" I mean slower-pace and more focused on the characters and relationships than an action or intrigue... the books with time frame of a few weeks, even months instead of a couple of days, a week or maximum two. So I was looking for that kind of book, especially after reading The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs, and came across Virgin River by Robyn Carr. I bought it after reading the back blurb...

Virgin River by Robyn Carr: 4.25/5
published by Mira in April 2007

After the death of her husband in a convenient store robbery, Melinda Monroe needs a change of pace before she breaks down and burns out. An ER nurse and midwife in LA, she leaves everything behind to go to Virgin River, a small town near the Trinity and Shasta mountains with a total population of 600 and in need of a nurse and midwife. However, nothing goes as planned once she arrives: the town is not as she imagined (let say the lady glossed the truth a bit), her one-year-rent-free cabin is not liveable, the doctor doesn't want help and so on. Quickly, Mel realizes that her decision was wrong and rash and decides to go back to LA as quickly as possible... until a newborn is abandoned in front of Doc's door. Mel stays on to take care of the baby, help Doc and slowly, integrates the community.

Genre: contemporary romance, small-town
Series: Virgin River trilogy, Book #1

Review: I really enjoyed this book as it was exactly what I was looking for. It was well-written, with a believable story and real characters.

The Characters - Melinda was a good main character: she wasn't a TSTL heroine, nor career-driven person nor an airhead. She's strong and mature with a life experience - tragedies as well as happiness. The main male character is Jack Savannah... The book does focus on Melinda, but Jack plays an important role in it. He's an ex-Marine who've settled in Virgin River after he retired. He bought a cabin and converted it into a bar which he runs with his friend, nicknamed Preacher. From the start, he's attracted to Melinda and hopes that she stays... Jack is the quiet alpha male: strong and dependable, he has your back, is generous and nice and everything. He's quite the perfect man.

Other characters include Doc, an old and grouchy man - my favorite kind of old man in books :P, and a couple of other secondary characters that will probably be more developed in the following two books.

The Story & Writing - Ms. Carr writing style is very good, very smooth and gentle. That's the feeling you get when you read her book - gentleness. As I said, it's also kind of "old-style." In fact, I would say that her writing style reminds me a lot of Susan Wiggs... As for the story, I really enjoyed it. It wasn't about Melinda's growth or evolution, but how she found love again, unexpectedly. I liked how the small town life wasn't too cliche... and the turn of events made the book quite refreshing.

The Cover - I like it :D It fits the story very well.

Am I keeping the book? Yes.

Anything else? Book #2 (Shelter Mountain) and #3 (Whispering Rock) are coming out in May and June 2007 respectively. That's how I lke my trilogies :) Back to back releases instead of waiting a year or two. The main character of book #2 is Preacher and woman on the run from an abusive husband, while book #3's main characters are Jack's sister and one of his old buddies from the Marines. In addition, in this book, you'll find characters from Ms. Carr's other trilogy Grace Valley (Deep in the Valley, Just Over the Mountain and Down by the River)... If any of you have Just Over the Mountain and Down by the River and could lend it to me or sell it to me, it'd be really appreciated :P