Melinda Munroe and Jack Sheridan's book
by Robyn Carr
"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.
I'm so on the fence about Virgin River. I have long wanted to read this series and in fact I have built up to owning every single book in the Virgin River series. Slowly through garage sales and used book stores, I already own them all.
After finishing this first book, Virgin River, I am not quite sure how I feel. I loved some things and really disliked others. Hopefully by typing out this review, I can get a better handle on my rating near the end.
I have a soft spot for small towns in novels. I loved Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor (Lucky Harbor series) and Margaret Ethridge's Heartsfield (Spring Chickens) to name a few. So I was sure I was going to fall right in love with Virgin River. For me I think that was the main appeal I held for this series. Now, not so much. There was really nothing adorable about the town. The houses were old clapboard and there really wasn't a draw for me to ever want to actually visit Virgin River.
That brings me to our protagonists Mel and Jack. I think Mel had a great plan in motion to leave her painful past back in LA and try for something fresh and new. The idea of committing to a one year contract in a small town clearly had appeal. Mel stuck me as a smart woman. So why in blazes would she take designer clothes, boots and a BMW to the woods? I mean come on. Even I would know it is time to purchase some hiking boots or a rain slicker. A BMW for dirt roads? I get that all she saw of Virgin River before arriving was from pictures but geez I'd have gotten a map out and saw it was in the middle of a redwood forest area.
I felt for Mel's loss and I felt that the length of time it took for her to finally just kiss Jack was believable. I don't mind a sweet story even if it takes half the of the romance book just to get to a kiss. It was understandable with the death of her husband just being under one year.
Jack was a character that was almost too good to be true. A forty year old unattached total hunk in the middle of the Virgin River running a bar/diner. He was also an ex-marine that had a bit of baggage but that just added to his appeal. He was very patient with Mel and it was clear that he was head of heels in love with her way before she was with him. I liked that a man could fall for a woman before they even had sex.
There were a couple of secondary characters that were put into mature situations and their ages were really young. They were 14 & 16 years old and their sex scene was written with more detail than Jack and Mel's eventual intimates were. I didn't like that all and it added nothing at all to the book or story other than perhaps these characters are set up for their own future book. I sure can wait for them to grow up because teen sex is a great big turn off for me.
The very last thing I'll mention that I didn't care for was a confusing introduction of a bunch of characters from Grace Valley. There was too many people to keep my head around when they were all thrown into the mix with conversations. June, John, Jack, Jim...I was lost among the J's.
Okay so what was the appeal with Virgin River to me? I don't know? Maybe it was peace. There was low drama and the story was just about two lonely people who came together and found love. It was simple. There were some very sweet moments between Jack and Mel and they had wonderful families. It was nice to read about Mel moving past the pain of losing her husband. I also like that she really loved her husband. There was no need to make him more of a victim than he was.
Since I have the entire series I will read them. I am going to move to book 2, Shelter Mountain next. We will see how it goes from there and that will determine how fast I move on to each subsequent book.
Teasers: cabin hovel, baby Chloe, fly fishing flirtations, rain storm melt down