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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sixth V.R. Novel's Got A Whole Lotta Love Going On

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

I know romance writer Robyn Carr issued a caution to all her delusional devoted fans, reminding us that Virgin River does not actually exist. She says the town lives "only in my mind" and that all you have to do to visit is "close your eyes and open your heart." You know what I say to that? Bah! I think she's trying to keep it for herself, attempting to preserve the small town from pushy realtors and Jack fanatics fans. Well, I don't know about you, but I've got my eye on a cozy cabin nestled right next to the gurgling Virgin. I hear ther scenery and wildlife is drool-worthy: fish, deer, bear, sexy ex-Marines ...

Whether or not there's real estate available in Virgin River, California (Just draw me a map, Robyn ... ), I'm always excited to go back and visit. For a quiet little place, there's an awful lot going on these days. Temptation Ridge, the 6th novel in the series, opens when 25-year-old Shelby McIntyre and 38-year-old Luke Riordan meet on a rain-slicked highway leading into town. Having settled the affairs of her recently-deceased mother, Shelby's ready for some R&R before plunging into the next phase of her young life. A few months on her Uncle Walt's ranch should do the trick. Then, she'll be off to get her education and see the world. Luke, a retired Black Hawk pilot for the Army, is also looking for some diversion before making decisions about his future. To that end, he's come to town to check on some investment property he and his brother bought on a whim. The two feel an instant attraction, although neither one really wants to admit it - Luke is obviously too old for Shelby, and Shelby, who has spent the last decade caring for her ailing mother, has seen too little of the world to settle for the first man she sees. But, this is Virgin River - you know, there's just something in the water that makes rangy soldiers fall head over heels. In spite of himself, Luke can't keep his mind off the beautiful Shelby. Guilt-ridden about lusting after a young 'un, fearful of her 3-star general uncle, and terrified of domestication, Luke doesn't know whether to run to or from the stubborn young woman.

There's actually a whole lotta love whirling around town - 2 babies are on the way; a romance continues to blossom among a "mature" couple; and Cameron Michaels (who's not actually a VR native, but is connected to the town) gets himself into a bit of a pickle when he romances a separated-but-not-yet-divorced flight attendant. Of course, trouble's brewing right along with the ooey-gooey stuff - Luke's got a fugitive hiding in one of his cabins; a VR favorite drops dead unexpectedly; and Luke's charming younger brother just might give his brother a run for his money.

While Temptation Ridge lacks some of the action of its predecessor (Second Chance Pass, in which Jack and his friends bravely take on a raging forest fire), it makes up for it in romance. I have to warn you that this volume seems to have more sex than the others, and it's fairly explicit. I know, I know - I always gripe about books with graphic sex scenes, but I do have to say that these are not violent or kinky, just ... detailed. Alright, alright, you caught me - I have no excuses. Robyn Carr books serve as my guilty little pleasures. Ahem. Now I'm blushing.

You may or may not know that Robyn has a legion of fans who gather at the virtual version of Jack's Bar. I always used to laugh at these ladies who talked about Jack, Preacher, Mike, Paul and Co. as if they were actually in the bar. Now, I realize I'm just as bad. Robyn excels so well at making characters come alive - good, honest, hardworking characters - that you want to believe they really exist out there somewhere. These are the type of people you'd give your eyeteeth to associate with, the kind of place you'd move to in a heartbeat. Yeah, Robyn's books tend toward the predictable, but it's the people that matter here. Who cares if they don't really exist? Once you meet them, you're gonna keep coming back for more. You're not going to care that every romance works out; or that they always end in passionate love, strong marriages and healthy babies; you're not going to rant about unrealistically happy endings; you're not going to be complaining at all, because here, in cozy little Virgin River, you're finally going to feel at home and if you're like the rest of us, you're never going to want to leave.

Grade: A


  1. I'm tearing up. Really. Brilliant review of a brilliant book in a brilliant series. I, for one, am thrilled that this series has been on the NYT Bestseller list for 8 weeks running--and we still have one more 2009 book to go!

    (I keep pumping Robyn for the secret location of VR, too, but she's sticking with that "it doesn't really exist" crap. Perhaps it's time for the bamboo slivers?) :)

  2. I looked into these books at my local library and apparently the author is a local gal. Most of the books listed were donated by her. Got to luv that.

  3. Laura - Very cool. Yes, she lives in Nevada. Robyn's a great author and a sweet person. I'd love to hear your opinion on her books.

  4. Robin - I'm happy for Robyn, too. The V.R. books are doing great.

    Definitely the bamboo slivers ... hee hee hee.

  5. My loves -- I have been so fortunate with this series and I owe so much to the positive buzz from readers. I don't take that for granted for one second! No matter how hard we work or how much we spend on promotion, at the end of the day it's always down to word of mouth. But probably the most gratifying thing about this whole series is that it seems to have brought people happiness and comfort. I'm so thankful for that!
    And thank you, Susan, for the wonderful reviews.

  6. I am reading this book right now, and actually started the Virgin River series because of your blog. I've already ordered #7!

    Great books!!!!


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