Published by Mira Books on December 29th 2009
Source: Borrowed: ebook
VIRGIN RIVER IS ABUZZ WITH THE NEWS THAT A STRANGER BOUGHT THE TOWN'S ABANDONED CHURCH ON EBAY. THE BUYER, A YOUNG WIDOWED REVEREND, IS A LITTLE LIKE THE BUILDING ITSELF: IN NEED OF SOME TENDER LOVING CARE.
Noah Kincaid arrives ready to roll up his sleeves and revitalize his new purchase, but he's going to need some help. An ad in the local paper brings and improbably candidate his way.
"Pastor's assistant" is not a phrase that springs to mind when Noah meets brassy, beautiful Ellie Baldwin. With her colorful clothes and even more colorful past, Ellie needs a respectable job so she can regain custody of her children. Noah can't help but admire her spunk and determination, and she may just be the breath of fresh air he needs.
The unlikely duo may come from two different worlds, but they have more in common than anyone would have expected. And in Virgin River lasting happiness is never out of the question.
I went on a Virgin River marathon the past week just because sometimes you want to stick with a series because everything after a while feels old and familiar. This is one of my favorites from the series though there are a couple of quibbles here and there, it honestly is just a really good story.
Noah Kincaid comes to Virgin River to re-open a closed church that be buys due to some inheritance. He feels part of the community and wants to do whatever he can to build up the town around him. Realizing that he is going to need an assistant he ends up interviewing residents of Virgin River and that is how he meets Ellie Baldwin. Ellie comes with a lot of baggage, but Noah cannot help feeling more and more drawn to the single mother of two who it seems has been dealing with hardships almost from birth.
I really loved Ellie. I have to say next to probably Paige and Brie from earlier books, she is one of my favorite female characters. I always grieved a bit in later books when you would just hear about her, but the character never speaks again really which is a shame. Ellie is feisty, not afraid to do hard work, and refuses to let those around her dictate what she can wear and how she should carry herself. Fresh off of a divorce from a controlling man who now has primary custody of her two kids would be enough to have anyone feel beaten, but Ellie is determined to get a job so she can prove to a judge that she is capable of taking care of her children. There is so much backstory to Ellie, and though I usually loathe information dumps via conversations with people, it works okay in this book since Noah is a pastor and is used to counseling people.
Noah we find out had a hard father who was also a minister, but one of those tv evangelical types who was focused more on money than souls. He still misses his wife that passed away and is not looking to start a relationship with Ellie or anyone. However, something about Ellie and her plight tugs at him while he can’t help feeling physically drawn to her.
Noah and Ellie as a couple makes sense, and Carr doesn’t draw things out too long before they are together. But it’s a relationship with a sale by date since Ellie decides as soon as she gets custody of her children she is going to move away.
We have familiar characters from previous books showing up in this one, Jack and Mel Sheridan, Mike and Brie Valenzuela, Paul and Vanessa Haggerty. Per usual, there is a secondary plot that involves Paul and Vanessa but at least once again it ties into the main characters. I don’t know how I felt about this little twist for the Haggerty family since it felt a bit too soap operaish, but Carr pulls it off in the end. I had read the previous book that was Paul and Vanessa’s (Second Chance Pass, Virgin River #5) so I was familiar with the background to it.
The writing is typical Carr with her handling what feels like a huge cast of characters, but able to keep the story-line moving. The love scenes between Noah and Ellie were great and I definitely got why they were attracted to each other.
The flow actually works much better in this once, because once again, the main characters are tied to the secondary plot so you don’t notice any abrupt changes.
I loved the ending and I liked how the story-line included characters we had met/heard about before in previous books.