Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #16
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, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road, Moonlight Road
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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In Virgin River, you never know what you might find around the bend in the road...
Former actor Dylan Childress left the L.A. scene behind years ago for a quiet life running an aviation company in Montana. But with business slowing down, Dylan is starting to wonder whether he should take one of the offers Hollywood keeps sending his way. He figures a motorcycle trip to Virgin River with his buddies might help him decide what path to take. But his own troubles are left at the side of the road when he spots a woman stranded on the way into town.
Katie Malone and her twin boys' trip to Virgin River is stopped short by a tire as flat as her failed romance. To make matters worse, it's raining, the boys are hungry and Katie is having trouble putting on the spare. So when some bikers pull up beside them, offering to help, all Katie feels is relief. Then she sees sexy, leather-clad Dylan Childress, and in one brief moment the world turns on its axis.
Katie's a sensible single mother and Dylan's a die-hard commitment-phobe. Neither one is looking for long-term romance. But sometimes it takes only a moment to know you've found something that could change your life forever.
There are those who really and truly believe that there are no coincidences, no acts of fate, no accidental meetings that prove to be fortuitous in a scary sort of way. And there are others who just can’t seem to get away from the fact that some encounters really do seem to be the result of some sort of cosmic planning. Whatever one’s belief or mindset, the meeting of Katie and Dylan in this story does seem fortuitous if only because this widowed mother and her 5-year-old twins are stranded on a narrow mountain road in Northern California with no cell phone connection and a really destroyed tire. The appearance of Dylan Childress and his biker friends certainly got Katie and her kids back on the road, but when the meetings between these two keep on happening, there does enter a sense that perhaps this odd kind of connection between these two was meant to be.
One could say that these two were hurting individuals. In some ways that is true. But Dylan was deeply wounded by parents, step-parents, half siblings and step siblings, the affluence of Hollywood that had been heaped on him as a successful child TV and movie actor, and the sense that everyone and everything in his parents’ lives took precedence over him. He has grown out of the laziness and self-centered approach to living and is not a successful business owner of a charter air service in Montana, thanks to a grandmother who refused to see her grandson walk down the same path his dad did. But one serious residual effect remains: Dylan is convinced that there is something in his family’s DNA that prevents him from ever being a successful husband and father. He carried around those old memories, the realization that he really wasn’t important to his mother, and the fear that was at the core of it all that he would ultimately be the same kind of relational failure as everyone else in his family.
Katie certainly wasn’t doing emotional handstands as she journeyed toward Virgin River where her brother lived. She was lonely–the kind of loneliness that seeps into the heart and soul like a cold, wet wind. Her Medal of Honor winning husband had died in Afghanistan before her twin boys were born but she would be the first person to tell you that she wouldn’t give up one second of her short-lived marriage to a man who truly loved her with a passionate heart. She will freely admit that she doesn’t want to be alone the rest of her life, but her main concern is her sons. All else pales in importance.
This novel brings a heavy dose of family connections to the story through the relationship between Katie and her brother and her brother’s significant other. It is also a curious look at a grandmother/grandson relationship that is respectful and loving, but each is living according to their personal dictates. Yet throughout there is that sense that Dylan has encountered a woman unlike any he has ever met, one who is confident, sassy, independent, loving to a fault when it comes to her children, her brother, and her friends. She is a woman who has developed the skills to live her own particular way according to the demands made on her and readers of the female persuasion will greatly enjoy the parts of the story that describe her mothering behaviors and if they are like me, will absolutely delight in the actions and words of those 5 year old twin boys–full of life and, as my mother-in-law would say, were full of pee and vinegar. They could get into more trouble in five minutes than any adult on the planet.
I am a confirmed fan of the Virgin River series and have been going back and reading some of the first novels in order to get a fuller picture of the characters that keep showing up in so many of the subsequent stories. I know there are readers who have grown weary of the series but I am not one of them. I don’t think they are at all stylized or formula stories any more than any other romance novel. Yet I find that I still want some of these people as my friends and neighbors. They are just really good people. It is always a joy to read about a community that is filled with realistic, life-like, just-as-troubled-as-we-are kinds of characters. They make the stories come alive for me. I hope you will get this book and enjoy it as much as I did.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.