I’ve loved Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series since Jack pulled into town and set up his bar and wooed midwife Mel in book one, aptly titled Virgin River. Carr’s love for the redwood country shines through even to the latest 13th book in the series.
Widow Katie Malone and her five-year-old twin sons are moving from Vermont to California to be with her brother Connor when she gets a flat in the middle of a rainstorm. If that’s not enough, a group of four bikers approaches—fortunately not to harass but to help.
Dylan Childress isn’t your typical biker, but once a bad boy child star of a very popular television show. Although Katie recognizes him, she doesn’t let on that she, like millions of other preteens and teens, loved young Dylan the scamp, and thanks him for his help.
While Katie settles in Virgin River, getting her boys into a playgroup and reconnecting with her brother, Dylan and his pals, all who work at a small airport charter service in Montana that Dylan started, ride on trying to enjoy their break from the business.
Both Katie and Dylan are faced with change in their lives. Katie is attempting to make a clean break from the situation covered in Carr’s previous book, Hidden Summit, while Dylan is faced with his company’s loss of business. His vacation is partially spent talking to Northern California charter owners to see how they are coping with the recession.
Both Katie and Dylan are delightful. Katie, as a military widow and mother of boys, is tough and focused. Her husband died before even seeing his sons, so Katie has devoted her life to them without a thought to her love life. Some of the exchanges between Katie and the boys is so funny and so spot on that readers will think Carr has five-year-olds running around her home.
Dylan and his personal and professional problems also ring true. He’s grown up and away from the Hollywood indulgences he had as a boy and is now a responsible, likeable guy who fits right in with Jack, Preacher, and all the other Virgin River guys. Convincing himself, then Katie, that he’s a good risk as husband and father material comes slow and hard for him.
The peripheral characters, many of them deeply established, are just as charming as ever, but Dylan’s movie star grandmother with her personal driver take the cake. She and the twins add spice to an already satisfying dish.
My only quibble with the book is that Katie and Dylan are forced together by a method that seems to be sprouting like toadstools these days. Rather than spoil the story, suffice it to say this is nearly becoming a cliché as a plot device because of its recent repetition in contemporaries.
Despite that little glitch, Redwood Bend is the kind of reliable Carr book that makes readers come back over and over, just as I plan to.