Friday, January 08, 2010

Review: Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr

Wooohoooo!! It's Friday! Gosh, it was hard to come back to work after the holidays ^_^; and worst, I've been having a shitty at work. This made the whole week stressful and verrrry looooong. You can't imagine how glad I am that the week-end is around the corner... and judging from the quietness on blogland this week, I bet I'm not the only one feeling this way :)

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.

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.
Genre: contemporary romance
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.


  1. I have got to catch up with this series. I still need to read book 3! Glad to see you liked this one okay.

  2. I'm still on the Grace Valley trilogy. I want to move on to Virgin River, so I should probably get a move on.

    Nice to see a B grade for this new trilogy. Hope the next two are even better for you.

  3. Sorry you had a shitty week at work. Hope next week is better. :)

    LOL - James is like your book concierge.

    "I liked re-discovering Virgin River through the eyes of new characters." Yes! It's like you go back to the familiar as well as getting that fresh perspective.

  4. I'm way behind on this series, since I've only read up through book 4. Book 1 is still my favorite. I'm glad to see there are no signups for the re-reading challenge. I was thinking about doing it this year but I know that if I signed up and flaked out, I would really feel guilty.

  5. Sorry about the first week back and I hope next week is way better! And you have a 'person'!! yay!


  6. I have to catch up with this series, nath. It's encouraging to see this review and to know that the series continues to be a good one.

    I left off after reading Second Chance Pass (I didn't like that story at all). But I have Temptation Ridge and Paradise Valley on the old TBR pile and need to get going before I fall too far behind.

  7. So nice that you have such a contact at the book store!

    I've read a lot of good things about Robyn Carr but I can't get into her books. I started to read one book last year and didn't get pass the first chapter.

  8. Here's another series I'm way behind on. But I'm glad you enjoyed this one. For some odd reason, I like preacher stories. LOL Go figure.

  9. Jill - LOL, take your time :) It's like you're saving good books for rainy days :)

    Brie - Do you enjoy the Grace Valley trilogy? I really liked it, thought it was different :D

    Leslie - Well one big problem solved, so yes, this week should be better. Hoping.

    LOL, yeah, he is :P

    I think it was time to have new characters... for the books to focus a bit less on Jack and Mel ^_^;

    ReneeW - Yeah, I agree. I do think that Book #1 was the best :D

    and I'm looking forward for your entries for the challenge :P

    CindyS - I hope so! LOL :) Hope you have a good week too :P

    Hilcia - I thought that in the second trilogy, Temptation Ridge was the best book. At least that's the book I enjoyed the most. Second Chance Pass really wasn't good... and looking back, I was way too generous on the grade. Sigh.

    Tabz - What book did you try reading?

    Ames - LOL, why?!?

  10. I think it was Temptation Ridge. Have you read it?

  11. Tabz,

    I'd suggest going back and starting with Virgin River. If you can't get into that one then give up, but I think TR isn't the best place to start.


    LOL @ you making James your "person". You make me laugh my obsessive friend.

    I haven't read this yet, but I'm glad to see so many good reviews of it. I was just thinking about starting it.

    I have to tell you, I'm somewhat put off by the secondary story involving Paul and Vannie. They're my least favorite couple. I might even go so far as to say I hated them....

  12. Tabitha - I read it and quite enjoyed it, but as Holly said, not the best place to start.

    Personally, if I was you, I'd read only Virgin River :D

    Holly - LOL, yes, I know... I'm obsessed :) but hey, now I have someone on the inside!! Can't stop now! :D

    I hope you enjoy it. I think it's better than most of the books in the second trilogy.

    I know what you mean about Paul and Vannie... I'm not sure you're going to like them better in this book though ^_^;