Guest Review: Promise Canyon by Robyn Carr

Posted February 1, 2011 by Judith in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Promise Canyon by Robyn CarrReviewer: Judith
Promise Canyon by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #11
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, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road, Moonlight Road
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: December 21, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 342
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

After years spent on ranches around Los Angeles, Clay Tahoma is delighted to be Virgin River's new veterinary assistant. The secluded community's wild beauty tugs at his Navajo roots, and he's been welcomed with open arms by everyone in town—everyone except Lilly Yazhi.

Lilly has encountered her share of strong, silent, traditional men within her own aboriginal community, and she's not interested in coming back for more. In her eyes, Clay's earthy, sexy appeal is just an act used to charm wealthy women like his ex-wife. She can't deny his gift for gentling horses, but she's not about to let him control her. There's just one small problem—she can't control her attraction to Clay.

But in Virgin River, faith in new beginnings and the power of love has doors opening everywhere....

Once again we visit that remote but winsome locale in Northern California, north of San Francisco in Humbolt County, an area with mountain peaks and valleys, some of the world’s oldest redwoods, and people who are happy and sad like everywhere else.  In this novel author Robyn Carr has crafted a saga that includes the on-going stories of individuals and families in this little community of Virgin River, that is tucked away and gets little attention by those outside its borders, but within which lives and breathes hearts that are merry along side some that struggle to get through each day, as well as others that work hard to give and take for themselves and the welfare of others.

You still have the delightful cook at Jack’s Bar, Preacher by name, who just seems to be able to bring the best out in food, who is probably a true culinary artisan, but who just keeps on delivering the tastiest of delights without even realizing it. There are families who experience the death of treasured friends, and others who have to deal with the blight of substance abuse. Many of these individuals and families have become like good friends.   But this novel is about two Native Americans, one a veterinary tech from Los Angeles who needs to be near family and far away from a debilitating relationship with a spoiled former wife, a marriage that should never have happened.  The other main character is a smart, ingenious hard-working, family loyal, fun-loving woman who has chosen to keep her emotions under wraps because of a teen relationship that damaged her sense of her own worth and her trust in her heart’s instincts.  Clay Tahoma is Navajo, has built up a reputation as one of the best vet techs on the West Coast, loves his sister as well as her raucous, wonderful family. He needs to bring his teenage son from Arizona to be near him.  Lilly is Hopi, but she has chosen to live apart from her grandfather even though she cherishes her relationship with this man who has raised her unselfishly.  She recognizes her Native heritage. keeps it in the background of her life much to the distress of her grandfather, but each day realizes that it has impacted her far more than she realizes.  This novel is really Clay and Lilly’s story, but the ups and downs within the community, the hurts and struggles of some of the familys that have put in an appearance throughout the other Virgin River novels continue along side of Clay and Lilly’s movement romantically toward each other. 

Some reviewers have found these later Virgin River novels to be “more of the same.”  I, on the other hand, find them compelling as I would any continuing story.  This novel, like the others is two-dimensional:  on the one hand you have Clay and Lilly’s romance as its core;  on the other hand you have the “doings” of the community–the ongoing experiences and continuing stories of those characters who form the backdrop to this series.  I also think that this two dimensional nature of these novels is a literary device whereby Ms Carr hooks these novels together and which keeps many readers coming back for yet another episode in the Virgin River saga.

I much appreciate the efforts Ms Carr has made to bring out the issues that surround and impact the Native peoples of the United States.  Many are not aware that California has more Indian reservations within its border than any other state in the Union.  The Northern California a reas are especially rich in Native culture and tradition, bringing Clay with his Navajo traditions and Lilly with her Hopi context together and making for a wonderful and rich background to their love story.  Their attraction certainly draws them toward one another and Lilly begins to believe that maybe there is really something genuine like Clay’s love in her future.  Bring in the complication presented by a spoiled and dysfunctional ex-wife which throws a football sized wrench into the situation and you have the stuff of a good romance.  What is really different in some ways arre the Native traditions that are very present in the way Clay and Lilly see themselves and the world.  I admit that I was in tears when I got to the end–a resolution to Clay and Lilly’s  not-always-easy relationship that moved me deeply.  It is not easy for many Native peoples to live within the greater American mix of cultures–so much of their tradition butts up against the wider American culture, with its disregard for the land and the environment, an attitude that is very distressing to Native people.  For them the earth is a gift to be treasured, not a resource to be exploited. by those who are driven by technology and the drive for person power and wealth.

I continue to enjoy and find great worth in this Virgin River series and this particular novel was a delight for me.  I recommend it as a very good read and one that is a fine addition to one’s personal library and consistent with much of the writing expertise of the others that preceded it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


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