jenjn79's Reviews > Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley by Robyn Carr
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's review
Oct 30, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: author-robyn-carr, series-virgin-river, 2009, info-full, genre-romance-drama, reviewed, published-2009, stars-4
Recommended to jenjn79 by: continuation of a series
Read in March, 2009

What to say...what to say...I find myself a bit torn on my feelings for this book. Because I liked it a lot. It was a quick, enjoyable read with characters I love. At the same time, I was disappointed in it and somewhat frustrated because it wasn't what I expected, or what I necessarily wanted.

Paradise Valley is the seventh book in Robyn Carr's Virgin River series, and the third and final book in the most recent trilogy. This book basically picks up threads started in previous books, which makes it NOT a standalone. You really should read the entire series to understand everything.

There are a lot of threads in this story. First there is the continuing romance between Doc Cameron and Abby, Vanessa's friend. The two met in the last book for a one night stand that left Abby pregnant with twins. Now that they've been "reunited" the two must work out what they plan to do. Also there is the continuing story of young lovers Ricky and Liz. Their story started in the original trilogy when Liz got pregnant at 14. The baby was stillborn but the couple stayed together. Ricky went off to be a Marine, though he pledged his love to Liz. Now Ricky has been seriously injured and everyone around him must help him through a terrible time as he tries to push them all, including Liz, away.

There's also more about the romance between retired General Walt Booth and movie star Muriel. Walt has to learn how to deal with the fact that Muriel is making a new movie. And the last storyline involves a mysterious past character, pot grower "Shady Brady" and the one time town drunk, Cheryl Crawford. Dan Brady returns to town after time in prison, hoping to start life over. He meets Cheryl when she visits town and the two strike up a friendship.

Plus there's also focus time in the book on some past characters. Lots of Jack and Mel. And everyone else is around...Brie, Mike, Paul, Vanessa, Paige, Preacher...etc.

And if you just read all that, you might get an idea of one of the pitfalls of this book. There are A LOT of story threads. More so than normal for a Virgin River book. It made it hard to settle into the story because every time you're getting into a couple, the scene changes to a different one and it could be a while before you get back to the other. On top of that, the two couples who seemed to get the most screen time were the two I was least interested in for the book.

Walt and Muriel, for one. There's something kinda sweet about them in a side-story kind of way. But after reading about them so much in the previous two books, I didn't really feel like reading more about them. The sex scenes between them didn't really appeal either. I just wasn't interested in that for them. So I wish they hadn't been so prominent.

Cam and Abby...hmm, I don't know. Something about them didn't quite snag me. Or maybe it's that I felt their storyline in this book was a little blah. Mostly, though, I think it's that I wanted to read about other people more than I wanted to read about them. So when they had all these scenes, all I could think was, when do we get the other people?

Which leads to those other people...Ricky, Liz, Dan and Cheryl.

I was very disappointed in the Ricky/Liz storyline in this book. This story was supposed to be their sort of reunion story, but it seemed like they hardly spent any time together at all. Grant it, Ricky was dealing with a lot and it was necessary to play that out, but I wanted more out of them as a couple. They've been building since very early in the series and I wanted that sweet happy ending for them...which they appear to be getting, but I wasn't really completely feeling the "happy" part. I guess because for almost the entire book they are at odds and it's not until one scene near the end that they work things out. I know some readers were also bothered by Ricky's antagonism and treatment of Liz...and maybe it was a little too much, but for me, it fit his situation. I just wanted to get a little more sweetness out of their story resolution.

And that leaves Dan and Cheryl...boy, what a disappointment that storyline was! Entirely because their romance is NOT in this book. Which was really unexpected. I went into reading this thinking Dan was doing to find love and live happily ever after. Instead, this book just reintroduces Dan and sets up his new life in Virgin River and sows the seeds of a possible romance between him and Cheryl, now a recovering alcoholic. I did enjoy what there was of Dan in the book. I think he's a fascinating character and I was surprised by some of the stuff we found out about him, but I'd been waiting and waiting for this book thinking it was going to be his story (and Ricky and Liz's) and then it wasn't. It just left me disappointed, especially knowing it's going to be a year before the next VC trilogy comes out and the story continues.

I also thought Dan's backstory in this one got a bit confused. Carr led us one way in the previous books, then this one seems to contradict that. Actually, he seemed two different pasts in this book, one he told Jack and one he told Cheryl. Neither of which matched what I thought Carr was telling us in the previous books. So I ended up kinda confused on what his deal was.

And after all that criticizing it might seem weird that I still give this book four stars. But it was still a really good book. I love reading about Virgin River and all the various characters (even if I did think Jack was overused some in this one). It was a quick read that I didn't particularly want to put down. Yet at the same time, it wasn't really the story I wanted for this book. It went directions that I wasn't fully interested in and neglected the ones I was. So that's where it fell short for me. Even so, I think fans of this series will enjoy the book. Some will love it, and some may feel the same way I do, but it's definitely worth reading.
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Reading Progress

03/26 page 145
34.86% "A bit of an emotional roller coaster so far..."
03/26 page 296
71.15% "So many focus characters in this book that it's a little hard to settle into the story..."
03/26 page 410
98.56% "Review to come tomorrow...err, later today, that is. *yawn* Too sleepy to do it now. Time for bed."
03/10 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8)

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Kathrynn That was so right-on, Isis. Nice!

Auntee Totally agree with you Isis--great review! I think we'll be reading about Dan for at least another book.:)

jenjn79 Thanks!

Yeah, I'm guessing they'll be more of Dan. I was just expecting more of him in this book.

Did either of you feel like he came off rather passive? I was expecting a more edgy character.

Auntee Yep, he was just an everyday, average Joe to me. I thought he would be a DEA agent, undercover cop--something like that...

jenjn79 I thought he was undercover something too. And even if not, he was just a bit too happy-go-lucky.

Auntee You're right---and with all that happened to him too...although he did talk about how messed up he was for a while, didn't he?

Jessy I kinda get frustrated with some of the reviews about how the Rick story line was depressing, I agree its meant to be depressing he has been to war saw terrible things and come back severely injured can't really get much cheer out of that.

Although, I have not as yet finished the book, I understand what you mean about the storyline being flighty, I must say thus far the writing about the darker elements in the story line has been really sensitively done I think.

Can't wait to finish it. I have been really drawn into this little mountain town of USA!!! So different from where I am in Far North Queensland Australia!!

Connie Jessy, I am glad you wrote what you did as I know of so many war injured currently and from Vietnam and it is not pretty. It was realistic.

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