Still, the week wasn't entirely bad. First, I was able to find a way to get my own copy of Almost Like Being in Love and bonus, I found Changing Pitches as well, both by Steve Kluger. Huge thank to Hilcia :D I finally typed up my TBB list of new releases for January to March and gave it to James at Coles. He seemed overly happy... I think he was getting tired of my calls :P A close friend was also celebrating her 27th birthday, so it was fun to get together :) And I finally bought my plane tickets yesterday to Columbus in April!! Yay! I got a pretty good deal as well, so double yay! LOL. To me, it never sinks in that I'm going on a trip till I start buying the plane tickets and planning things out :)
All right, enough about me :) More about what I read...
Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr
published by Mira in December 2009
Virgin River is abuzz with the news that a stranger bought the town's abandoned church on eBay. The buyer, a young widowed reverend, is a little like the building itself: in need of some loving care.Genre: contemporary romance
Noah Kincaid arrives ready to roll up his sleeves and revitalize his new purchase, but he's going to need some help. An ad in the local paper brings an improbable candidate his way.
"Pastor's assistant" is not a phrase that springs to mind when Noah meets brassy, beautiful Ellie Baldwin. With her colorful clothes and even more colorful past, Ellie needs a respectable job so she can regain custody of her children. Noah can't help but admire her spunk and determination, and she may just be the breath of fresh air he needs.
This unlikely duo may come from two different worlds, but they have more in common than anyone would have expected. And in Virgin River lasting happiness is never out of the question.
Series: Virgin River, Book #9 (counting novellas)
The Story: Hmmm, I started writing the synopsis for Forbidden Falls and it seemed only another variation of the back blurb. So I won't go over it again... The only thing that the back blurb does not cover and I want to add is the secondary storyline, involving Paul and Vannie. Paul and Vannie have decided for a second baby... however, their world is shaken upside down and things get a little shaky between the couple when Paul discovers that his ex-girlfriend has named him guardian of her little baby girl... The same baby she tried to pass as Paul's own...
My Opinion: Overall, I enjoyed Forbidden Falls. It didn't wow me like Virgin River did, but I did think it was better than Second Chances or Paradise Valley. Also, looking back at my reviews of the Virgin River books, I do think I've been a bit generous with the grades for the second trilogy ^_^; Ah well.
I thought the storyline in Forbidden Falls was interesting, although a bit predictable. I liked re-discovering Virgin River through the eyes of new characters. I also liked Noah and Ellie's characters. Noah's character is the good buddy guy. He's friendly and nice and likes to help others. In a way, he's perfect for the job of minister. As for Ellie, she was definitively the interesting character. She comes from a humble background and made some poor decisions concerning men, but she's definitively a devoted mother. What I liked best about her character is that she was comfortable with who she was. She's not apologetic about her background, there's no shame or self-pity. Life is what it is and she takes it in stride. There's also an earthy quality to her, plus a inner core of steel that makes her mentally strong. I don't want to use this word, but what comes to mind is that Ellie is an "unsophisticated" heroine. How many books did you read about heroines from poor backgrounds doing whatever to leave that background behind and aim for a better life? Well Ellie hasn't been able to surpass her background and I don't think she minds or cares. Money is tight and she does what she can for her and her kids. She does want better conditions of life, but not so much for herself but more for her kids. Yep, I definitively thought her character was interesting and so different than most heroines out there.
As for the side storyline involving Paul and Vannie, I thought it was interesting... I felt sorry for Paul and Vannie to have their lives turn upside down. However, the story didn't reach me and mostly, because I think it's wasn't too realistic. Seriously, who names someone legal guardian of their kids without asking permission? It doesn't really matter that you think it'll never happen! You just don't do that in my opinion. I have to say though, Ms Carr has a way with writing... because the babies sounded so cute!! I'd have loved to see Matt and Hannah play together! Awww.
Aside from the storylines and characters, what made Forbidden Falls more enjoyable for me is that Ms Carr focused on two stories: Noah & Ellie and Paul & Vannie. In the second trilogy, there were too much going on in one book - too many POVs, too many storylines. The stories seem incomplete... however, the balance is much better in Forbidden Falls and so I hope the trilogy will continue in this trend. We still get to see our favorite characters: Jack, Mel, Preacher, etc. but they are more in the background this time and play a less active role, which is good with me.
While I enjoyed the storyline and characters, I thought the romance plot wasn't strong enough. I didn't particularly feel the chemistry between Noah and Ellie. I think their relationship was too predictable... However, my biggest issue was my impressions of Noah and Ellie. Noah is 35 years old, a widower, someone used to hard work... However, by his dismeanor and description, I kept imagining someone much younger. Think more of a young man, happy-go-lucky. As a result, whenever he thought of his wife, it sounded off. As for Ellie, well she was described as being quite tall... but I don't know, I kept imagining her petite. I guess that didn't help me connecting with the characters, having a mental image that is so off with what's written.
My Grade: B. An encouraging start to the trilogy.