Second Chance Pass
It is not without great regret that I give Second Chance Pass an average grade. I, too, was one of the legions who discovered Robyn Carr with her phenomenal Virgin River series. I enjoyed the first four books immensely and looked forward to the next installment. Yet, I was never hooked in and even found myself annoyed at times. Not a promising start to this next generation of Virgin River books.
She’s the pregnant wife of a deployed marine and he’s the best friend that’s been in love with her since he first spied her. During Whispering Rock, Vanni’s husband is killed in action and she gives birth to his son while clinging to Paul for support. Now, a few months later, Paul is back at his home in Oregon trying to get over his love for Vanni. Meanwhile, Vanni is wondering why Paul left so abruptly and is now avoiding her and the baby at all costs. Oh, and she recently realized she’s in love with him.
Just when Paul decides to test the waters where Vanni is concerned, he finds out something that could change everything: A casual encounter with another woman has led to a pregnancy. He has some tough choices to make about future relationships with both Vanni and the mother of his baby. Vanni makes it clear that she wants Paul, but will she want him after he finds out about this mess he’s in?
As she did in the past books, Robyn Carr weaves a few different storylines into Second Chance Pass. There are introductions to future lead characters, more in depth looks at some we’ve known, and even a whole secondary romance between Paul and Vanni’s best friends. All together this sounds like a pretty decent storyline, but I still couldn’t get into it. The fault might lie in the balance of the plot. Paul and Vanni’s relationship moves at warp speed and once we hit mid-story and they become more of an afterthought. Jack and Mel take over a large portion of the book and, though I love them to pieces, I wanted them to bow out just a little. I didn’t find the secondary romance between the best friends very interesting either. And we can’t forget Paul’s baby-mama problem. This being the conflict that is keeping them apart…. Well, the resolution didn’t work for me.
As for my annoyance, I have to say all the baby talk left me weary. It felt like every other sentence is about babies or the business of babies. If a female isn’t pregnant, she’s having a baby or breast-feeding a baby or changing a baby or watching multiple babies or worrying about the babies. I’m a mother of two and usually like babies and kids in my romances, but this was overkill to the nth degree. Late in the book when another character announces she’s pregnant I put the book down with a huge eye roll. For a town with the word “Virgin” in it, these ladies sure aren’t!
There are some good points to Second Chance Pass. Something very emotional happens between Jack and Mel that had my heart in my throat. And, along with the basic continuation of the storyline, you get the characters you have known and loved mixed with a few new ones. Vanni’s father, for one, steps from the shadows and has a great little sub plot.
I liked Paul and Vanni when they were first introduced and I found it very disappointing that they’re story didn’t pan out for me. Even though Second Chance Pass didn’t work for me I’m going to continue with the series, but I don’t think I’d pick up this one again.