Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #12
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, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road, Moonlight Road
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Colin Riordan came to Virgin River to recuperate from a horrific helicopter crash, the scars of which he bears inside and out. His family is wonderfully supportive, but it's his art that truly soothes his troubled soul.
Stung personally and professionally by an ill-advised affair, PR guru Jillian Matlock has rented an old Victorian with a promising garden in Virgin River. She's looking forward to cultivating something other than a corporate brand.
Both are looking to simplify, not complicate, their lives, but when Jillian finds Colin at his easel in her yard, there's an instant connection. And in Virgin River, sometimes love is the simplest choice of all….
It is a tribute to author Robyn Carr that her creativity seems endless as she continues to give us more stories in the Virgin River series. As the 12th book in this series, one would understandably expect that there would be a sense of the “same old, same ole” and yet that doesn’t seem to be the case. Nor does it seem that the saga of this community and its various individuals and families gets old. They all continue to make appearances here and there, each new story’s characters adding to the rich context of the next novel. For those of us who have lived in Northern California at some point in our lives adds even more richness to the background against which these novels is set. Whether it be the colorful streets of San Francisco or the dark, brooding, mysterious redwood forests, Virgin River keeps on drawing readers into its borders and engaging us into the stories to be found there.
Jillian Matlock and Colin Riordan would appear to have backgrounds and life experience that are as different as night from day. Yet both are sort of refugees from some serious emotional and professional upheavals, wondering at the directions in which their futures may lay, and simply seeking some sort of haven where they can find solace, healing, and peace. It would seem that the very remote location of this tiny town makes it possible for both of them to hide until they can find a new purpose and plan for the coming weeks and months. Jillian’s involvement in a company she helped to found and build has come to an abrupt end through the manipulations of an unscrupulous person who sought to rob her of her position and livelihood. To make matters worse, this individual preyed on her emotions, convincing her that he was deeply in love with her, only to accuse her of sexual harassment, using their email correspondence and text messages against her. Colin has to find a way to deal with the demise of a future that he thought would enable him to be a pilot, whether it be in a military or civilian setting. His injuries may have not prevented this, but regaining his license after his addiction and rehab from prescription pain killers was dicey. A Spring and Summer in Virgin River, close to his brother Luke, amid the beauties of nature so that he could paint, would give him a chance to get his life and his plans back in order.
Jillian and Colin become acquainted and subsequently their overwhelming attraction to one another results in a torrid love affair. No strings . . . that is the rule for them both. Jillian may not stay in Virgin River, and Colin has already decided to go to Africa to photograph wildlife for his paintings and try to find opportunities to become a professional pilot once again. Their romance was truly a beautiful thing, filled with their appreciation for one another’s achievements, their love for nature, their awareness of the other’s strengths and talents, and a recognition that their presence in one another’s life was like a drug addiction. How were they ever going to go on without each other? Yet they never tried to change the plans of the other.
This is no pie-in-the-sky-by-and by kind of story. There is disappointment and deep hurting, disillusionment and emotional wounds, grieving at the loss of someone deeply loved, stillborn dreams and unrelenting insecurities to be overcome, maybe even a dread of entering once again into the fray of trying to survive in an unforgiving world. Jillian and Colin do indeed find solace in each other’s arms. But the old hurts, the inner wounds are still there, and each must face their own demons, make their own choices, chart their own course. That does not always make for easy reading. The various citizens of Virgin River that make frequent appearances in the previous novels are still here, and their stories also progress and develop as sub plots in this novel. Ms Carr weaves their lives into the experiences of the main characters with the skill of a Persian rug maker. Their individual joys and woes become the warp and woof of a beautiful fabric. This novel poses some intriguing questions and readers may be surprised at some of the answers. Having read a number of the previous books in this series, I must be honest in responding that some of them are better than others. Of this particular novel I can only say that I think it is one of the best.
Rating: 5 out of 5.