Once again I decided to have a break from my normal diet of heavy thrillers and settle down with a light romance. This is #2 in the very popular romantic series by Robyn Carr which explores the dynamics of very small-town USA and the effect the town and its people have on traumatically bruised characters who seek refuge in the town.
This time Paige Lassiter is on the run from her abusive husband. She ends up in Virgin River hoping to find somewhere to stay with her son until she can change her identity to protect herself from her husband. In foul weather she walks into the local bar when John Middleton (Preacher to his friends) is about to close. John doesn't look like a guardian angel, over 6 foot tall and muscular with shaved head and tattoos. Preacher has been on active service with the Marines for years and has settled down in Virgin River because his old Sergeant Jack Sheridan runs the local bar and restaurant.
John has had little contact with women but is immediately drawn to help Paige and her young son Chris. While understandingly being very suspicious of men Page accepts Preacher's offer of somewhere for both of them to stay for the night and plans to leave first thing in the morning. This doesn't happen and Paige soon finds that Preacher, despite his appearance, is a big teddy bear who quickly falls head-over-heels in love with her and begins to love Chris as his own in a way that his father was never able to do.
This is a sentimental and touching story of two apparently different individuals beginning to come together as a couple and as a family. All of the other characters from the first book are there to give a helping hand especially when Paige's husband tries to find her.
Well done Robyn Carr - you have created an environment and a formula for a light romance series that will warm the hearts of many.