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Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Summer in Sonoma Radiates Typical Carr Warmth

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Just when I couldn't possibly love Robyn Carr any better, she goes and writes A Summer in Sonoma. Granted, the new book is not set in Virgin River and Jack Sheridan doesn't even make a cameo, but it still held me captive. Robyn teased me about planting surprises in the book that she knew would tickle my fancy - and she's right. They did. Just tickled me pink. The V.R. books will always be my favorites, but A Summer in Sonoma runs a very close second.

The story revolves around four women who have been close friends since junior high. Cassie, an E.R. nurse, thrives on the adrenaline rush she gets from work, but wants something much quieter out of life - a family. When a tussle with another in a long line of lying jerks leads her to Walt, who just might be the most decent man she's ever met, Cassie has to decide how much outward appearances really have to do with happiness. Julie, who's worn a wedding ring since preschool - it seems - is overwhelmed with taking care of her house, chasing her brood, and pinching ever penny until it bleeds. When the stress leads her to make a devastating decision, she know things have to change. Marty's got it all - a handsome husband, a large home, a luxurious RV, plenty of money to spare - but she's tired of her lackluster love life, her current status of working mom/maid, and the indifference she feels emanating from her macho Italian man. A chance encounter with an old boyfriend finally makes her feel desired, dangerously desired. Then, there's Beth, a brilliant doctor who's hiding a terrible secret.

Even though each woman struggles with a different set of problems, they all find strength and support within their circle of friendship. Their bond is strong as cement, but will it be enough to get them all through their crises?

While several aspects of the book's plot hit home with me, it's really the warmth of A Summer in Sonoma that I responded to most. Despite the characters' issues, it's an upbeat novel about ordinary people struggling with common problems. It's typically optimistic and predictable, hallmarks of a Robyn Carr novel. Although the characters could've probably used some fleshing out, I enjoyed them nonetheless. Big, hairy Walt especially appealed to me - even though he doesn't resemble Virgin River's sexy Jack in the least :) Then, there's that LDS fire chief. He may not be all that swoon-worthy, but at least he's a nice, honest representation of Mormon manhood. Even though I'd rather spend a day in Virgin River than Sonoma, I'll go pretty much wherever Robyn Carr decides to take me. I'll follow her happy, heartwarming vibes (not to mention those irresistible V.R. men) absolutely anywhere.

(Readalikes: The House On Olive Street by Robyn Carr and other stories about women's friendships)

Grade: B

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

To the FTC, with love: I received this ARC from the always generous Robyn Carr. Thank you!


  1. So happy to see your review. I won this book in a giveaway and can't wait to read it - LOVE Robyn Carr's books, especially the VR books.

  2. I have this book on my Kindle and am looking forward to reading it. I always like women's friendship books.

    By the way, your radio interview was fun! I enjoyed it.

  3. Loved this book. Robyn is so wise--I learn so much about how to best live life through her books. From communicating with your spouse to how to get out of debt--it's wonderful!

  4. Bookfanmary - How fun! I hope you love it.

    Kay - I hope you enjoy it. I think it's really fun.

    Glad you enjoyed the interview. I'm afraid to listen to it :)

    Robin - Totally agreed!


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