If you want a sense of community that is welcoming and warm, the Virgin River Series by Robyn Carr are the books to read. Robyn Carr does an amazing job of making this series something that you want to be a part of.
Each book brings in the main characters and then keeps adding to a number of people that visit Virgin River as well as those who choose to live there. In the first few books you find Hope McCrea finding a nurse (book 1), then a cop (book 2), then a preacher (book 9), to add to the community until she passes away.
Each story line carries the main characters, but it also carries other stories simultaneously.
In Book 1, Virgin River, you meet Lizzie Anderson and Rick Sudder in addition to Jack and Mel. Lizzie is a completely out of control teen sent to Virgin River to be with an aunt because her parents can't handle her anymore. There she meets Rick. He is the grandson to Lydie Sudder, who has been taking care of him since his parents were killed.
Jack had taken Rick under his wing and had been helping him out. Rick and Lizzie romance is combustible!
As you read the first 6 books, you read about Lizzie and Rick. How they come together and what they go through being so young is nothing short of awe-inspiring. I cried right along with Lizzie and Rick as they struggled.
If I could live in Virgin River with all these amazing characters, it would be awesome!! I thoroughly enjoyed this series.
Each book can be read on it's own, but to see how the community comes together, you need to read the first 10 or so books together. After that, each book is loosely connected.
The sensuality level for this series is medium to medium low. She shares some details but not everything and not every time.
Book 1, starts the whole community with Jack Sheridan and Mel Monroe. He is a retired Marine who has bought a bar in the middle of Virgin River. This bar, Jack's Bar, becomes the main meeting place for the whole valley.
Mel is a nurse/midwife in need of a big change. After losing her husband to violent crime, she heads to Virgin River with an offer from Hope McCrea. While the offer from Hope was not what she was expecting, the offer from Jack is worth a lifetime.
Book 2, Shelter Mountain, is about Preacher. His real name is John Middleton. He is a Marine buddy of Jack's and they open the bar together with Preacher as cook/chef/resident gourmet. He is a big burly of a guy and has a soft spot for the down-trodden.
Paige Lassiter is on the run from an abusive husband and gets lost in Virgin River. Preacher takes it upon himself to help her and they fall for each other.
This book has Brie Sheridan's and Mike Valenzuela's story. He becomes the cop of Virgin River and she is an attorney who help those who need it.
While Book 3, Whispering Rock, carries the main characters of Tommy Booth and Brenda Carpenter, it mainly continues the stories already established in book 1 and 2.
Tommy helps Jack, Preacher, Walt Booth, and others find a group of kids that are raping girls and getting away with it. He meets Brenda after she suffers a miscarriage due to being raped. This one is a sweet story of how love can heal.
Walt Booth is a retired general and widow. He is father to Vanessa, book 5, and uncle to Shelby, book 6.
Book 4, A Virgin River Christmas, brings in new character. Marcie Sullivan is hunting down her beloved husband's best friend after he passes away. She wants to thank him for what he did for her husband.
What she finds is a man who has secluded himself off from the world because of the effects of the war. Ian Buchanan doesn't want company but a snow storm keeps them together in a tiny dump of a cabin long enough to help them both heal from the loss.
Erin Foley is Marcie's older sister. Her story is book 11, Moonlight Road.
Book 5, Second Chance Pass, has Paul Haggerty coming to Virgin River. He is in the construction business and is helping to build the community. And he has been secretly in love with Vanni forever. Vanessa Rutledge lost her husband to the war, had a baby without him and has come to Virgin River to heal.
It takes a while, but they realize they are meant to be together.
Walt Booth becomes interested in Muriel St. Claire.
Book 7, Paradise Valley, is about forgiveness and acceptance. You first meet Dan Brady in book 1, where he was a illegal pot grower. He comes back to make amends and get honest work. There he meets and falls for Cheryl Creighton. She is finally sober after being the town drunk for a long time.
You also find more about Lizzie Anderson and Rick Sudder.
Book 9, Forbidden Falls, brings in Noah Kincaid who answers an ad to buy the old run down church just down from Jack's Bar. He is a young pastor looking for his own congregation. But he needs some help to fix it up. In steps Ellie Baldwin. She is young, sassy, beautiful and in need of a respectable job to get her kids back.
Through the whole story, Ellie brings out these thoughts of wisdom that she was taught from her granny. Some are funny. Some are practical. All help to carry the story line beautifully.
This book is also about Vanni and Paul Haggerty from book 5, Second Chance Pass.
You will find that Hope McCrea is bringing certain people to keep Virgin River alive and growing.
During book 10, Erin Foley fully renovated the tiny dump of a cabin that Ian Buchanan lived in when he was in Virgin River. In book 11, Moonlight Road, the cabin in a completely renovated up-to-date oasis.
Erin is sister to Marci (book 4, A Virgin River Christmas).
But what she doesn't expect is a burly looking hunk to be in her backyard early one morning. Aiden Riordan, a navy doctor, has come to Virgin River to be with his brothers and figure out what is next for him.
You first meet Lief Holbrook and Kelly Matlock in book 14. In book 15, Harvest Moon, Kelly is escapes to her sister's to find some R&R. Lief has his hands full trying to deal with his attitude-filled teenager. With so much baggage, it is amazing that these two connect at all, but they do.
Katie Malone gets her story in book 18, Redwood Bend. She is Conner's sister (book 17). She is a war widow and has been away from her brother for too long due to the trial, so she picks up and heads to Virgin River. She encounter Dylan Childress on the side of the road, in the pouring rain.
It is a heartwarming tale of realizing that your past does not need to hold you back from having your own happy ending.
I'm sure the story line could just keep on going and going and going. It just ends. I guess it has to at some point.
I love this series. It's one of my favorites.
She has another series that is more recent. Check out the Thunder Point Series.
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