Synopsis: John “Preacher” Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of the wet October night. A marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one—the woman is covered in bruises. He wants to protect them, and he wants to punish whoever did this to her, but he knows immediately that this inclination to protect is something much more. Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in this gentle giant of a man—emotions that he has never allowed himself to feel.
But when Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River, Preacher knows his own future hangs in the balance. And if there’s one thing the marines’ motto of Semper Fidelis—always faithful—has taught him, it’s that some things are worth fighting for.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed seeing a new side to Preacher. His protective friendship with Paige was heartwarming; and his paternal relationship with Paige’s son, Chris, was very moving. I loved the pacing of their story and watching the gradual transition from friendship into something more.
Unlike Virgin River, this story caught my interest from the very beginning and I read it non-stop. Also unlike Virgin River, this story didn’t seem to focus just on the main protagonists. This story embodied a majority of side characters introduced in the previous book with foreshadowing of events to come in future books of the series.
And don’t get me wrong ~ I love Jack and Mel. But they had their story. And yes, I had hoped to catch up with them a little in Shelter Mountain, but I began to feel like this story was as much a continuation of Jack and Mel’s story as it was the story of Preacher and Paige. I wanted more of Preacher of Paige.
I’m also intrigued by their new friend, Dan. Even if I wasn’t already in love with this series, I’d want to continue reading just to find out more about him.
All in all though, I was glad to magically be transported back to Virgin River and get to know some of my favorite characters better. It really is a wonderful place and Ms. Carr has created a terrific group of friends in this little town.
Verdict: This was Very Good. I am really looking forward to reading Mike and Brie’s story, Whispering Rock, but unfortunately I can’t get my hands on it for another two weeks. I may have to just suck it up and buy the series because I can definitely see these as rereads. While I’m at it, I guess I should get the Grace Valley books as well.