Temptation Ridge is the sixth book of Carr’s Virgin River series. Though I’ve been wanting to try this series for a while, this is the first one I’ve read. However, I’ve read reviews and discussions, so I wasn’t lost when I encountered continuing storylines. Sadly, after hearing such good buzz about the series, I was kind of disappointed. While I thought the book was better than average, it’s not necessarily one I’d recommend.
When her mother passes away, Shelby goes to Virgin River to live with her Uncle Walt. After spending the last five years caring for her ailing mother, she’s ready to experience all the things she’s missed. Her plans include travel, education, and finally having a real boyfriend. The man in her mind is close to her age (twenty-five), clean-cut, and studious. Imagine her surprise when she starts to fall for a rugged thirty-eight-year-old ex-Blackhawk pilot.
Luke Riordan and his brother purchased some rundown cabins and a home in Virgin River as an investment. Now that Luke has finished his career in the army, he’s come to town to see what the damage is and decide what to do with the buildings. He meets Shelby before he’s even arrived and is immediately attracted to her, but since he thinks she’s about eighteen, he tries to ignore her. That becomes difficult as she keeps showing up and he’s more and more drawn to her.
Luke warns Shelby again and again that he’s not good boyfriend material, that he’ll only end up hurting her, that he doesn’t do commitment, and especially that he’s too old for her, but she’s strongly attracted to him and has decided that he’s going to be her first. So, their relationship begins and we jump to the other storylines. Doctor Cameron Michaels meets Abby MacCall Crawford in a hotel bar and they have an amazing night together. But Abby is technically still married and she’s very against starting a relationship with a stranger. Of course, there are consequences from their one-night stand that will bring them together again. Uncle Walt is having a romance with his famous, Hollywood star neighbor, Muriel, and Mel and Jack are featured quite a bit.
I wasn’t a fan of all the different storylines. They were all interesting at one time or another, but I wasn’t hooked on any of them and thought that some scenes were there to simply show how good the characters were. That was another issue I had – everybody was so goody-goody and the “bad guys” were too scummy. There wasn’t much of a middle ground. An example of this comes when Luke is taking care of a man on his property and before he leaves one night, he fixes the guy a meal – and the author takes the time to assure us that the dinner included vegetables.
The biggest reason I didn’t give this book a higher grade is that I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. Also, the main relationship wasn’t very well-developed. A lot of that might be attributed to the fact that there was a whole lot of telling and not much showing. Because the story jumps between so many different plotlines, I didn’t feel the relationships were given the time they needed to be great. Granted, the secondary relationships will be continued in a later book, but the main one suffered from a lack of page space and since Luke and Shelby hadn’t met in prior books, there is no backstory elsewhere to fill in some of these gaps.
Despite the problems I had, there were some sweet moments and I was intrigued enough to think Temptation Ridge was slightly better than average. It was more of a light, fluffy read, which might have been part of the reason that I didn’t connect well with it, because I’m not a big fan of those books. In fact, people who already enjoy the series will probably like the book more than I did. I still want to read the first books of the series, though, to see if I’ll enjoy them more.