Fleeing the pain and loss of her life in LA, Melinda (Mel) Monroe is ready for a dramatic change in her life and where she lives it…which is why she responded to the ad for a nurse practitioner in the small country village upstate. She was promised a cabin rent free for a year, and the opportunity to use her midwifery skills.
She arrives on a stormy night, and her BMW doesn’t quite make it up the mountain…a grumpy passer-by hauls her out of the mud and leads her to the cabin. Stunned by what she finds there, Mel is just about to turn around and leave. Except there is the storm, her hunger, and the appearance of the “landlady” Hope McCrea, promising the derelict cabin will be cleaned up…and that they can find food in the diner.
The diner turns out to be a tavern run by a couple of intimidating characters: “Preacher” and Jack. And there at the bar sits the grumpy passer-by, who turns out to be the doctor she is there to assist. But the food offered is divine, and the ambience isn’t bad.
Still…she wants to leave, but when she goes to Doc Mullins’s place later, she discovers an abandoned baby there. She can’t leave just yet.
Virgin River reeled me in with the descriptions of the characters, the settings, the food…and encircled me with all the warmth a place like that can offer. Jack Sheridan, the bar owner, is brought vividly to life in all his hunky sexiness, and it doesn’t take long to imagine what could happen between him and Mel…if she lets it.
After all, she lost her husband Mark in a dreadful murder…and is still grieving.
Can Mel find what she needs in this off-the-beaten-path place? Will the friendly charms and homey goodness of the people help her heal? And will the darkness that hides in the woods ruin things, or will Jack and his cohorts defeat it?
I was eager to find out, so I kept turning pages until the very end, and still wanted more. I enjoyed how the author showed us the challenges of practicing medicine in such a community, while also revealing the unique charms of the people, which made the challenges worth the effort. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. 4.5 stars.