Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #8
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road, Moonlight Road
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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VIRGIN RIVER IS ABUZZ WITH THE NEWS THAT A STRANGER BOUGHT THE TOWN'S ABANDONED CHURCH ON EBAY. THE BUYER, A YOUNG WIDOWED REVEREND, IS A LITTLE LIKE THE BUILDING ITSELF: IN NEED OF SOME TENDER LOVING CARE.
Noah Kincaid arrives ready to roll up his sleeves and revitalize his new purchase, but he's going to need some help. An ad in the local paper brings and improbably candidate his way.
"Pastor's assistant" is not a phrase that springs to mind when Noah meets brassy, beautiful Ellie Baldwin. With her colorful clothes and even more colorful past, Ellie needs a respectable job so she can regain custody of her children. Noah can't help but admire her spunk and determination, and she may just be the breath of fresh air he needs.
The unlikely duo may come from two different worlds, but they have more in common than anyone would have expected. And in Virgin River lasting happiness is never out of the question.
I am going to start off by saying that this is my kind of novel in so many ways. A newly ordained Presbyterian minister has purchased an old, run-down church building in Virgin River on eBay. Now that seems like a good way to start one’s own congregation and since Noah has come into an inheritance from his mother, he strikes out on his own with the blessing of the local Presbytery (always necessary in that denomination). When he arrives in Virgin River in his really old RV, towing his ancient pick-up truck, he knows he has his work cut out for him, especially after seeing the building and looking over the interior. It will take a good portion of his reserves, but he feels that this community has gone long enough without a church of its own. First order of business: get someone to “assist” with this project, and after interviewing a couple of starchy older ladies, he decides–against his better judgment–to hire Ellie Baldwin, a former exotic dancer/secretary/office worker/convenience store clerk/housekeeper-cleaner/childcare worker, etc. What he gets is a sassy, beautiful, kind, caring gal that works as he says: ” . . . like a genie in a bottle.” In spite of being trashed by her ex who has now gained custody of her two kids (he isn’t even their father), she remains positive and upbeat, sharing the wisdom she learned at the knee of her grandmother, working to gain enough respectability to once again have her children with her. She plans to take off when the 90 day custody agreement can be overturned.
Noah is 35, a widower for the past five years, with multiple graduate degrees in religion and counseling, and living with a lonely heart. He is a healthy male in every way, and in spite of wanting to preserve a professional employer/employee relationship with Ellie, finds that his respect for her is growing as is his attraction to her. This novel is really about their love story.
But all is not well in Virgin River. In spite of some who think that everything in that little community just runs smoothly, there are hurting people and families. Jo Ellen and Nick have resided under the same roof for the past twenty years of their marriage, and not much else. Ellie rents their upper story garage apartment. But boy! would she love to see them happy again. Vanni and Paul want to start their own family (she’s a military Iraq war widow with a son) when an old girlfriend of Paul’s “wills” her infant daughter to him when she is killed in an auto accident. Now that’s a fine kettle of fish for any newly married couple to handle. And it doesn’t go well until Ellie and her kindness, energy, love for the babies, and gentle wisdom invade Vanni and Paul’s home where she works her magic. Ellie’s ex gets into the fray and he’s a borderline personality, so his capacity to work considerable damage makes this story even more interesting.
It is a typical Robyn Carr novel: well-written, with believable and real characters who live in ordinary circumstances with the real human failings and relationships that ebb and flow, live or die just like in real life. The love story is the thing in this book, but around the edges you meet ministers who live in a real world and have an approach to religion that is inviting and caring; there are wise people and sick people and friendships that stand the test of time and the crises of living. In other words, it is a book to which almost anyone can relate. The Virgin River series is larger than most and some reviewers are panning these later books. I find this novel to be one that I couldn’t put down. Of course there is the HEA we all love, but there are still struggles and situations that will cause the reader to wonder how this is all going to play out in the end. The book is messy at times, but then again, life is messy, too.
So I recommend this book to romance fiction lovers as a warm and winsome read.
Rating: 4 out of 5.