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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2007
A former Marine, John "Preacher" Middleton has found peace in Virgin River, California. Working as a cook in his best friend's bar, Preacher does what he loves most; he cooks. When closing up one night, Preacher is surprised to see a soaked woman carrying a child in. Virgin River is a small town and strangers are few and far between. Never feeling strong emotion for any woman, Preacher is somewhat shocked by his urge to protect Paige Lassiter and her son, Christopher.

Paige Lassiter is on the run. Leaving after almost getting beaten to death by her husband, Paige intends to change her identity to protect herself and her son. Hoping to find somewhere to stay the night, Paige ends up on the road that leads to Virgin River. With the weather so bad that she can hardly see, Paige can do nothing more than take the kindness of a stranger. John Middleton looks like he's as far from a guardian angel as a man can get. Already leery of men, Paige accepts his offer to stay the night but insists on leaving in the morning.

This is an amazing story of love and courage. While content in his life, Preacher never expected to have feelings as intense as the ones he has for Paige and Chris. Vowing to protect them both, Preacher is a solid presence that Paige so desperately needs. Paige soon finds herself falling for Preacher. While they are both sure of their feelings, they each have doubts that the other will receive those feelings well. Preacher doesn't want to run Paige off by telling her how he feels. Paige doesn't want to have to leave because Preacher doesn't feel the same way she does. Fortunately the misunderstanding does not dominate the book. There are a lot of returning secondary characters that will make you laugh and cry. Robyn Carr has a unique gift of bringing the reader right into the pages and making them want to stay.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2008
The Virgin River Series:

Virgin River

Shelter Mountain

Whispering Rock

A Virgin River Christmas (Nov 2008)

Robin Carr's stories unfold smoothly. Never boring or pointless. Never totally predictable. Surprises throughout. Always emotional and realistic. Before you know it, you realize that you've read half the book without stopping. You can truly get lost in these books.
As I mentioned above, this is definitely a sequel. It is the second book of the series. The first book, "Virgin River", introduces you to a lot of the characters for "Shelter Mountain". There are a couple of important characters who are newly introduced in "Shelter Mount", but the majority are already in your heart from the first book.

So... if you haven't read "Virgin River" yet, don't ruin this book by reading it first. Become a part of the Virgin River family with book 1, then come back for "Shelter Mountain".
Here is the link to the first book:
Virgin River (Virgin River Trilogy, Book 1)

For those whom have already read "Virgin River":

Quiet, shy, and with a heart bigger than his 6'6" height, John Middleton is affectionately known to his friends as "Preacher". While his marine buddies ran off to drink and use women, he stayed behind to honor the values his mom taught him as a boy. Now, in his early thirties, Preacher is happily running Jack's bar. Jack has moved into his new wife's cottage, leaving an empty apartment over the bar.

Late one night, just before Preacher closed the bar for the night, a woman came inside. Soaked from the pouring rain, and carrying her sleeping 3- year- old son, Paige is desperate to find a safe place to spend the night. Preacher immediately notices her bruised face and split lip. He offers to let her stay in the upstairs apartment for as long as she needs. As a man who tends to frighten women and children with his size, tattoos, earring, and bald head, Preacher wishes he could have a family like this woman and her child. He can't understand how her husband could have abused these blessings. Knowing he could never hope to have a woman like Paige for his own, Preacher commits himself to seeing her freed of her abusive husband. He'll give everything he has to help her make a new start, then he'll quietly let her go when she is ready to move on.

Upon first meeting John, Paige is intimidated. He's much larger than her abusive husband. If he were to get angry, he could do far worse damage. Once she realizes that he has a big soft heart, she knows she can't stay in Virgin River long. Her husband will come after her. When he finds her, anyone who helped her hide will be at risk. Somehow, John keeps convincing her to stay a few more days or weeks. Before she knows it, Paige and her son have become a part of the Virgin River family. There is not a single resident in the tiny mountain community who will not offer to help shield her.

Preacher has it bad. Not only is he head- over- heals for Paige, he has come to love her son as his own. Little Christopher is happier than he has ever been in his young life. He has a giant best buddy who spends a lot of time reading to him, playing with him, teaching him to cook, and keeping him and his mommy safe. Christopher never wants to leave John. Paige can see what a blessing John is in both their lives. How many men would take the time to make a new leg and sew it on a little boy's ragged teddy bear? She has found a miracle man in John Middleton. Now she only has to teach him how beautiful and worthy he is.

Paige's threat has come to Virgin River. Now she has no choice but to either flee or fight. With John, Jack, and all of their friends behind her, Paige is ready to stand up for herself and Christopher. For the first time in years, she sees a bright future. One that she is thrilled to spend with John. When the law can't protect her, her new family will. John has claimed Paige and Christopher as his own. He won't let his woman, or his boy, be harmed ever again. Whether it takes lawyers or guns, Preacher will keep his family safe.

Aside from all of this, you will get to read the continuing story of Jack and Mel. Their first child is born. They build their dream home. And they surround their loved ones with unending support.

Rick and Liz's story continues as well. This is one of the most emotional relationships of the series. Two teenagers are forced to become adults much too soon. Rick, being raised by Jack and Preacher for the last few years, is determined to do what is right.

Jack's youngest sister, Brie, faces some harsh twists in life. Mike, one of Jack's former marines, has faced some very hard times as well. The two become friends. Their friendship is leading up to the third book in the series:
Whispering Rock (Virgin River Trilogy, Book 3)

So many great and tragic things happen in "Shelter Mountain". Yet it all fits together into one flowing story. After reading "Shelter Mount", I'm even more attached to the characters than I was after "Virgin River". I can't wait to read Mike and Brie's story.

Here is the whole series of links in read order. There are three more Virgin River books scheduled to be released in early 2009.

Virgin River (Virgin River Trilogy, Book 1)

Shelter Mountain (Virgin River Trilogy, Book 2)

Whispering Rock (Virgin River Trilogy, Book 3)

Coming next: "A Virgin River Christmas", scheduled for Nov. 2008
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2011
The 5 Star Review:

I will admit I'm a sucker for a damsel in distress. This is a beautiful, contemporary love story about a wonderful man called Preacher who heroically saves the life of a young woman in need. Paige is a sweet, lovely mother on the run from her scary, abusive husband. The writer does an excellent job of capturing this woman's trauma and healing process. I loved reading about the love blossoming between the giant scary-looking Preacher (who has a heart of gold) and the sweet young woman. I even enjoyed the small child in the story and it was endearing to read about the growing relationship between Preacher and the boy.

The town of Virgin River is seriously addictive. It is charming and beautiful- like the perfect little town. I have to admit I crave reading about the town of Virgin River!! It would be a dream if this place existed.

The 2 Star Review:
Warning: **** SPOILER **** SPOILER **** SPOILER ****

As much as I loved parts of this novel (seriously one of the better romances I've read)... there were certain things that were just off or wrong to me. First of all, Ms. Carr's obsession with female genitalia and anatomy. I let this go in the first novel of the series because the main character was a midwife. But apparently, this goes beyond a story line. This novel (in parts) reads like a PSA for a woman's clinic. The writer is making very obvious "statements" about the use of anesthesia during labor (she's obviously against it) as well as the proper way to handle a teenage pregnancy... amongst other things. I will let any reader judge for themselves of course, but these parts of the novel stood out to me and felt awkward. Like they were "inserted" simply to make a statement and didn't seem to flow with the novel. In fact, sometimes it felt like the book had completely changed stories and I was wondering what was happening with the main characters.

Also, and this is the SPOILER part, I had an issue with Paige's reaction to her miscarriage. Namely, her lack of one. After she has her D and C she goes back to the restaurant apartment and continues on. When you encounter her again in the story, she's become suddenly aware she's in love with Preacher and starts to flirt with him and that becomes her new focus. I was uncomfortable with the character's complete lack of emotion about losing her child. Her sudden personality shift was a bit much. Like... because she was suddenly no longer pregnant she was now free to be in love with a new man. Eh... not sure about that part. Especially considering the strong views the writer seems to have about women and pregnancy, I was surprised with this plot element.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2014
Virgin River, the town where everyone is pregnant and act like they're 20-40 years older than they are.

The synopsis would lead you to believe that this is a romantic novel between the two protagonists, Paige and Preacher/John. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. The vast majority of the book is about Mel and Jack, the two protagonists from the first book, and surrounding cast. While it's not usually necessary to read the first novel in a romance series, it felt that you MUST go back and read the first one with the shear amount of references to the book. Not only that but there were several continuances from the first book. Had the author fostered a fondness for her other characters within you, this might not have been a bad thing but I felt nothing for any of the characters. Even the first meeting between Paige and John felt ridiculous-- it was like he was talking down a bank robber.

In all honesty, I got to the halfway mark and ended the struggle. I couldn't finish it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2009
I enjoyed Shelter Mountain. The topic of domestic abuse is handled very well by Carr here. And the love story between Faith and Preacher evolved slowly, sweetly. And we get to hear more about characters from book 1 as well as get introduced to a new character. And this is why I only gave the book 3 stars. While I do enjoy the feeling of community you get when reading a Robyn Carr novel, I thought she tackled a bit too much in book 2. I would have preferred the book to focus mostly on Faith and Preacher. But I don't want to undersell this book. This is a sweet, feel good love story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2011
I am not usually a women's fiction reader, but occasionally a book or series will come along that just grabs me. The Virgin River series by Robyn Carr has grabbed me from the first book.

Yes, there is romance, but not the bodice ripping kind that sets my teeth on edge, just a nice meet a new person fall in love kind of romance that builds around the storyline and does not seem to jump out of nowhere catching you completely off guard.

However, like most romances, the male characters are a bit farfetched. I have never personally met a burley mountain man that melts like whipped cream in hot chocolate. Not to say that they do not exist, but that is definitely a woman's creation.

What I do like about Robyn Carr's books is that the end of one flows effortlessly into the next. The next story seems to take up where the previous one ended without a glitch or a feel that you need to play catch up. New characters are introduced in a subtle way that makes you wonder, "What is their story", and low and behold, that is the path you are taken down.

Shelter Mountain begins when late one evening Preacher is closing the bar and a young mother and her child arrive scared and bruised. John "Preacher" Middleton has not had much experience with women, but he knows pain when he sees it and he knows that this young woman is in trouble and if she will let him, Paige Lassiter has found the man that will protect her from an abusive husband and a life on the run.

I like where Robyn Carr said that she doesn't have villains, she has issues, and that is why she writes women's fiction. She is drawn to capable female characters. That is what I like too. There are no victims in her books, there are just women that find themselves in difficult situation and they find, with the help of friends and community, a way through to the other side.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2007
Virgin River

Midwife Melinda Monroe has come to Virgin River to try and recover from the senseless murder of her husband. The change from the city certainly comes as a huge surprise and if that isn't enough, she finds herself hopelessly drawn to retired Marine. Jack Sheridan. Although Mel finds that Jack awakens part of her that she thought was gone forever, she's conflicted by the feeling that she's being unfaithful to the husband she adored. When circumstances force Jack and Mel into a marriage, can she overcome her feelings and give her heart to Jack completely?

When I was at RT I returned to my room one night and found Virgin River in a gift bag with a cookie on my bed. I was startled to say the least. With everything going on I ate the cookie and put Virgin River into my carry on luggage with a thought that maybe I'd read it on the plane. While in flight I found myself totally absorbed in Mel and Jack and I couldn't get enough of Virgin River. As soon as I returned home, I immediately put the two next books in this trilogy on pre-order, I had to have them as soon as possible!

Shelter Mountain

John Middleton, also called Preacher by his friends, has worked with his friend, Jack, in Virgin River since he retired from the Marines. He's closing the bar one rainy night when Paige Lassiter and her three year old son come in. It quickly becomes apparent to Preacher by the bruises that Paige is trying to hide, that she is on the run and he and his friends in Virgin River rally around Paige and her son determined to protect her. Paige thought she'd never feel safe again after the hell her husband put her through. Everyone in Virgin River has gone out of their way to make her and her son at home; especially Preacher. She's never met a man like him before and little by little she allows herself to open up and begin a romantic relationship with him. Preacher never really saw himself as a family man, but Paige and her son have him thinking differently than he ever has before. However, when Paige's ex-husband shows up, can Preacher and the residents of Virgin River protect Paige from a madman?

The second book of the Virgin River Trilogy was just as wonderful as the first. Preacher and Paige seized my heart from the first chapter. I practically stayed up the entire night to finishing reading Shelter Mountain because I just couldn't quit until I turned the last page.

Whispering Rock

After being severely injured in the line of duty, LAPD officer and Marine reservist Mike Valenzuela found himself in Virgin River and somehow agreeing to be the town's first police officer. Brie Sheridan's brother, Jack, has made his home in Virgin River along with his wife Mel so it's no surprise that Mike and Brie find themselves spending time together. Brie's husband devastated her when he left her for her best friend; she'd never had any warning that anything was wrong. It's not until Brie is the victim of a savage assault that Mike and Brie truly become close. Brie realizes that Mike is everything she needs. Mike knows that he's struck out at love before but he knows that Brie is the woman he should have waited for. Now they have to get through the assault trial along with the sudden reappearance of Brie's ex-husband.

Whispering Rock could not have been a better ending to the Virgin River Trilogy! Mike and Brie were both characters who intrigued me in earlier books and Whispering Rock couldn't have satisfied my longing for their story more!

In all honestly I could not do a review on just one of these books! It's not often that I find a series where all of the books are equally as good but TheVirgin River Trilogy is a stellar example of what a trilogy should be. In this case I can't recommend highly enough that readers pick up all three books at once. You most certainly will not be disappointed!!

Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2007
First of all I loved not having the wait for the 2nd book in this series! I fell right back into Virgin River and enjoyed the immediate familiarity with the characters. The story was unique and stood on its own, but the way the story was tied into the first book made it even better. Robyn Carr's writing style makes you feel you are a part of these characters lives and I am so looking forward to the 3rd installment. Highly Recommended!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Former Marine John "Preacher" Middleton works as a cook at the restaurant owned by his former commanding officer Jack Sheridan in remote VIRGIN RIVER, California. Preacher lives a quiet life with no women and a few social events with the other vets from his former unit.

Soaked to the bone Paige Lassiter enters the restaurant carrying her three years old son Christopher. She is on the run from her abusive former spouse, but Preacher assumes it is his scary looks that frighten winners of tough men contests are the reason she is so terrified. However, he also knows he likes her calling him John and somehow her waif like bruised condition reanimates something Preacher thought was dead as he vows to keep and her child safe from that SOB of a "car door" if he ever arrives in the Redwoods. As she works in his kitchen, Paige falls in love with the gentle giant; he reciprocates and includes her son in his heart. When the enemy arrives he will find his ex-wife's protector is a formidable adversary.

Robyn Carr shows her talent with the second Virgin River tale as this exhilarating thriller stars the enigmatic Preacher and the domestic abuse victim. The story line is driven by their slowly changing relationship as she brings out the obvious protectiveness in John but also a "romantic" side while peeling potatoes. The suspense comes late as it should in this superb sequel.

Harriet Klausner
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2007
AFter reading the first book Virgin River, I couldn't wait for this book to be released. I was not disappointed. It was everything I expected and more. I cried and laughed and cheered at the end. Now the wait begins for the next installments coming next month. I hope Robyn doesn't stop with 3 but continues on! There are lots of other characters that could have their own book!!! Robyn fans will not be disappointed and if you've never read one of her books, go find them and start. I've found myself thinking about my own life experiences that could match some of what happened here. It's a great read.
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Whispering Rock (Virgin River)
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