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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review — A VIRGIN RIVER CHRISTMAS (updated)


Sorry to have disappeared. I’ve been busy getting ready for Christmas. And I’ve been reading, as well as listening to a book on my iPod.

I just finished A Virgin River Christmas. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read — my first e-book, actually. I read it on my computer using Kindle for Mac. Because I just don't spend enough time with my computer, you know?

This book tells the story of Ian Buchanan, an emotionally scarred former Marine, and Marcie Sullivan, widow of Ian's best friend, who died from injuries sustained while at war despite Ian's attempt to save him. Set in the snowy mountains above Virgin River, it brings together so many things that make the Virgin River series so enjoyable — the remote mountain setting, the sense of community, and the strong men and women who make up that community.

Marcie has been searching for Ian, feeling that there is unfinished business between them. As her husband's best friend, Ian should have been there during the three years her husband lingered between life and death. Instead, Ian had vanished. Marcie wants to know why — and she wants to give him her husband's baseball card collection. Truth is, she's not sure why she's searching for him. She is driven by needs she doesn't completely understand.

The man she meets is not the man she remembers. With a heavy beard and a nasty temper, Ian has been hiding in a cabin in the mountains, living an unadorned life as a hermit — no ties, no toilet, no contact with the outside world. Ian knows who Marcie is — he met her at one point when he came back from the war while her husband was in a long-term care facility — but he wants nothing to do with her. He does his best to drive her away and acting a bit nuts in the process.

But Marcie becomes ill, and Ian has no choice but to take care of her. The ten days that follow as she regains her health transform both of them. Watching Marcie and Ian face their shared pain together, finding love and healing in each other’s arms, was wonderful, even if Marcie at times seemed a little too perfect.

The love story is sweet, as are the love scenes. The emotion feels genuine. I found myself forgiving Marcie's PITA older sister, Erin, as I learned why she was a PITA. It was great to see the other characters again — Mel and Jack; Paige and Preacher; Doc, etc. (I haven't read Brie and Mark Venezuela's story yet, but it’s in my TBR.)

The sense of community that permeates these stories is so addictive. Who wouldn't want to live in a town where everyone cared about everyone else? Heck, I'd pack my junk tomorrow if I knew of such a place. It's pretty far removed from the world I know, I must say.

I love to read Christmas-themed romances, but most often I read historicals. There's something about the Christmas season that makes historicals particularly enjoyable. This is the first contemporary romance I've read with a Christmas theme, and I enjoyed it. I still prefer Christmas historicals, but then historicals are what I love to read most anyway.

For those who haven't read the Virgin River series or who’ve read only a few, this book stands alone. I think a person could read it and then go back and pick up at the beginning.

Over all, a very enjoyable and satisfying read. I did something atypical and downloaded Lisa Kleypas’ Devil in Winter, which I’m listening to on my iPod. Though I don’t typical get into Regency romances, I’m enjoying this one.

As of 5 p.m. today, I started a week of real vacation — no novel to write, no deadline to meet, no paper to put out. I intend to savor it, because waiting for me already are copy edits on Breaking Point, due Jan. 5, as well as research for Connor’s book. The work is going to have to wait. I’ve worked hard enough this year and plan to enjoy the days I have to spend with my kids.

Yes, Benjy is home. And Alec, my older son, is only 45 minutes up the highway. We’re having one of Benjy’s friend spend the holiday with us, too. In the Army, he found himself stranded and alone for the holiday, something we couldn’t allow. He’s been Benjy's friend since third grade, and we’re delighted to have him with us. So far, our dinner discussion has involved topics common to young men in their early 20s — guns, the Zompocalypse, chicks. It’s all good.



The tree is up. My father and Benjy put lights on the house, and it looks absolutely lovely. But there are still cookies to make and a turkey to brine. And there are lots of slow, quiet moments to savor.

Anyone have any really great Christmas historicals to recommend? I’m on a reading roll.

(I just updated this with a photo of our house, both while Benjamin was hanging lights — and the lovely result.)

9 comments:

The photo of the house in the dark was taken by Benjy.

Debbie H said...

Your house is beautiful!!! Alas, we didn't do anything this year on the outside. Heck, I didn't even decorate as much on the inside. With the son and family living with us (3 1/2yr old and 2 yr old) it just wasn't possible. They have since moved out, but it stays as it is.

Have a wonderful time with the family and cherish each moment.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Enjoy your much-deserved break, Pamela. The house looks great. I must give the Virgin River series a look - sounds like it would be just up my alley. Happy Holidays!

Mary G said...

Hi Pamela
Your house looks so cheery. Inside it will be cheery too with your boys home & their friend too. I hope you enjoy your time off, you've earned it.

I just finished A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas for Marie Force's Book Club. It was short - 201 pages - but I loved the characters & the writing.

All the best to you & your family.
((hugs))

Anonymous said...

OK. I really haven't read many Christmas just a Dark Hunter one and a Lisa Kleypas one.

I am waiting for you to write and iTeam Christmas story my dear. A nice McKinnon Christmas would be nice someday too.

The house looks FAB!!

Sue-berry

Lucy said...

Awww the house looks great! Benjy done good! :)

Doreen said...

Hi Pamela! Your house looks Christmas ready and very pretty!
I am just finishing a bunch of historical's by Gaelen Foley and while they're not Christmas themed, they're outstanding. (The Knight Family series is great!) You should read Kleypas'Huxtable series too..they're so good!
Eloisa James' "An Affair for Christmas" is a good holiday story and an anthology called "It Happened One Night" which has 4 excellent historial authors stories in it is good too!
Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Di P said...

Hi Pamela
"Merry Christmas" Great to hear your taking a well earned break.
Thankyou for introducing me to Robyn Carr. I have so loved the series. I especially loved Luke and Shelby's story. Luke sounds really hot! Wouldn't it be great if there was such a place.
I can't think of any Christmas themed stories that I've read but I have to say all of Lisa Kleypas stories are definately among some of my favourites and any book you pick up of hers your sure to enjoy.

Lisa said...

Pamela, so glad to hear that you're taking that much deserved break. I picked up Virgin River when you mentioned it a while back on your blog and OMG, I am hooked. I love the premise of the generous people of a small town, helping everyone out. Your home looks lovely all lit up! Happy Holiday to you and your family!

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