Thursday, May 06, 2010

Angel's Peak Takes Me Home

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for Angel's Peak, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier Virgin River novels. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Once a year or so, I travel to Washington State. I relax in the house I grew up in; gossip with the people I know best; and revel in scenery that still manages to take my breath away. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's where I go to commune with my truest self. It's the place I cherish most, the place where I breathe easiest, the place that remembers me most vividly. I'll probably never live in Washington again, but it will always be home.

Opening a Virgin River novel by Robyn Carr floods me with similar feelings. Every time I return to visit Jack, Preacher, Mel and the gang, I wonder why I ever left town. The fact that none of these good, honest people actually exists doesn't bother me in the least - I still feel like I've known them my whole life. It's a testament to Carr's world-building talent that sinking into one of her books feels exactly like coming home.

Angel's Peak, the 10th book in the series, opens with Air Force pilot Sean Riordan getting a very big surprise. He's on leave, visiting his newly-married brother in Virgin River, when he happens to run into his old girlfriend, Franci Duncan. All it takes is one glance to bring it all back - the adventures they shared, the passion, and the very nasty way their relationship ended. He's dated plenty of women since Franci, but he still hasn't found anyone to match her. Clearly, he needs this fiery, beautiful girl back in his life.

There's just one problem - Franci isn't falling into his arms as easily as he hoped she would. She's still stuck on commitment, still craves marriage and family. Sean's not the cocky playboy he once was, but he's not sure he's that ready to grow up. All he wants is the opportunity to get to know Franci again, to prove he's worthy of her trust, to court her all over again. How can he convince her to give him another chance?

Turns out, Franci's got a good reason for resisting the advances of commitment-shy Sean. A 3 1/2-year-old reason. For a man who never wanted to be a father, Sean's about to get the shock of a lifetime. Will he still want Franci when he finds out how she deceived him? Can Franci learn to trust the man who once crushed her heart so brutally? Can Sean and Franci forget the past and rekindle the fire that once burned between them? Or will a 3-year-old Irish Rose be the one thing to keep them apart forever?

If you've ever read a Virgin River novel, you probably know exactly how this one ends. Still, it's always a fun ride when Robyn Carr's at the wheel. No matter how predictable her stories, I adore the people she creates. They make Virgin River come alive for me. The basic goodness inside every Carr character makes the closeness of the little town feel real. I actually sniffled through a lot of this book because the values of giving to others, forgiving trespasses, and nurturing those most precious to us are so strong in the story. It's that small-town tightness, a throwback to gentler times, that makes me want to come home to Virgin River. Again and again and again.

(Readalikes: previous novels in the Virgin River series; Robyn Carr's Grace Valley series)

Grade: B

If this were a movie, it would be rated: R for language and sexual content

To the FTC, with love: I received this book from the ever sweet and always generous Robyn Carr. Thank you!

4 comments:

  1. susan, isn't it nice when you have a series that you can come enjoy year after year? I can tell that this is your comfort series. I have a couple of those myself. I haven't read any of Robyn Carr's books, but I am certainly aware of them. One day....

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  2. I LOVE that description - this truly is my "comfort series." I'm going to steal that phrase :)

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  3. I have a little something for you over on my book blog: http://busymomswholovetoread.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-good-day.html

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  4. Ah--love me some Robyn Carr!

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