Friday, November 28, 2008

Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr ****

I was in need of some comfort-food reading material, and somehow marked my records that this was #2 in the Virgin River series. I found the first one, Virgin River, a true comfort read, and so decided to read this one - even though I was saving it for after reading the Grace Valley series.

However, as I read I kept thinking I missed something - sure enough, this is the third book and I missed the second book in the series. I hate when that happens!!

This book had a number of characters from the first - and a number, I guess, from the second that I didn't know the story of. You could read it as a stand-alone, because she fills in with backstory, but I was disappointed to miss out. I guess it will all fall into place when I finally get the second one and read it.

The main romance couple is Jack's sister Brie and Jack's Marine buddy Mike. Both characters had to overcome a major trauma (that I guess we learn about in the second book?) and learn to live and to trust again. Brie's husband left her for her best friend, and not too long after that she prosecuted a major rape case and lost - the rapist went free. The true trauma was that the rapist followed her home, and raped and beat her, and in that instant she went from confident and independent to a shell of her former self. She left her job as county prosecutor, and moved in with her father during her recuperation, and became essentially a hermit - afraid to go out, afraid to be seen.

Mike had been a member of the LAPD, working a gang task force, when he was ambushed and shot by a 14-year-old gang member, and nearly lost his life. After being released from the hospital, he went to Virgin River for physical therapy with Mel. Again, I guess that part was in book two, because at the beginning of the book, he's recuperated enough to take a trip home to visit his family in Los Angeles. He had first met Brie soon after her marriage, and again after her breakup with her husband, and has always carried a torch for her.

But in Carr's books, it isn't just about Mike and Brie - it's still about Jack and Mel, and about Preacher and Paige, and all the other characters in Virgin River as well as their extended families. Hope, who first hired Mel, talks Mike into becoming Virgin River's first cop - a "constable" position that isn't actually a member of a police force. His credentials as a Marine and a member of the LAPD are enough to give him credit, but he spends some time with local sheriffs and other law enforcement types who would normally cover Virgin River to be sure they will accept him and his work. There isn't much crime in Virgin River, unless you count the number of hidden marijuana growers dotting the area, or the occasional drunken misbehavior at Jack's bar. Or unless you realize there seems to be a pattern of high school girls coming to Mel with the marks of date rape, none of whom actually remember what happened.

So Mike does some investigation on this subject, while also trying to spend some time driving to Sacramento and calling Brie, wooing her slowly back to herself. There's another new family in town, also related to the Marine buddies group - a general, his daughter who is married to one of the buddies, and his teenage son Tom. Tom figures in the storyline about the high school date rape issues; the daughter Vanessa is the love interest, not returned, of another of the buddies.

Once again, I was sucked into the lives of the characters in this non-existent small town, wanting to have a beer with them at Jack's bar and gossip with them and go with them to the county fair. I think I might have enjoyed it even more under different circumstances, one of which would be reading it in order!!

4 stars

No comments: