Welcome back to Virgin River with the book that started it all…
Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a 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 former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.
Reviewer’s note: I watched the Netflix series before discovering this book series. I will do my best not to let that to affect my opinion on the novels.
Mel is a recently widowed nurse practitioner and mid-wife who is looking for a new start. When she finds a job in the quaint little town of Virgin River, she can’t help but jump at the opportunity. However, she finds that things aren’t quite as idyllic as she thought they would. The cabin she was promised is a pit, the town doctor doesn’t want her help, and she’s not really prepared to live such a rugged life. However, an abandoned baby is the start of new perspective for Mel and she finds that Virgin River might be just what she needed all along.
I struggled with connecting with Mel. Most of the time, she’s tolerable and you can even feel for what she is going through. But there is a lack of character development, which leads to the reader being thrust through random mood swings and a lot of whining. At one point, Mel literally summarizes the book… while talking to her boyfriend’s sister, that she just met. The lack of depth, the whiny behavior (blaming everything on PMS is pathetic), and Mel’s constant mood swings is obnoxious.
Mel isn’t the only narrator, we also get the opportunity to see things through Jack’s perspective. While I enjoy multiple points of view, Jack’s parts were sometimes very uncomfortable to read. I do not need to read how sexually aroused he is by Mel. I also felt that many of his thoughts came off as creepy and obsessive. If I heard a man constantly talking about her in the way he did from the beginning, I would say it was a huge red flag and she should run as fast and far as she could.
I’m trying to not allow my opinions about the series affect my thoughts on this novel. But I feel I might as well address the differences. Mel and Jack are far more realistic and interesting in the Netflix series. She’s not constantly whining and she doesn’t blame everything on PMS, and he’s not constantly talking about being aroused. I also like that the show is weaving together several novels into one season. I like the overall premise of the plot, but I did not like how the novel was written. I will try to read one or two more novels. Often I’ve found that some series get better over time, so I’m hoping that this will be the case for this one as well.