February 29, 2012

Review: Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr


Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

Warning: the review contains a spoiler, it’s hidden, but I'm making sure you know about it now in case you prefer to skip the review.

One of my favorite books by Robyn Carr is A Summer in Sonoma. It’s one of her standalone books and if you haven’t read it you should because it’s wonderful. When I found out that Walt, the hero of that book, had a cameo in this book (he also makes a cameo in the previous book, Hidden Summit) I was a happy camper.

Katie Malone is a single mother of 5-year-old twins. Her husband died in war when she was pregnant and she’s been alone ever since. Months ago, tragedy struck again when her brother became the main witness of a murder and had to go into hiding. That ended up well with him moving to a small town called Virgin River and finding love, but Katie’s life was a bit of a mess. When she finally allowed herself to date and maybe find love, the guy she was dating turned out to be gay. Now she’s trying to start again but first she’s taking her boys for a little road trip and to visit their uncle.


Halfway through Virgin River, and in the middle of a storm, she has a flat tire.  A motorcycle gang, or at least what she first thinks is one, stops to help her. One of the bikers is Dylan Childress, famous actor and former teenage heartthrob. He’s been out of the spotlight for a while now but she recognizes him immediately. They are both staying in Virgin River for a short time and since they feel strongly attracted to each other they decide to have a fling, a very hot and heavy fling. He is very clear about the nature of their relationship because he is weary of commitment and also because he thinks himself incapable of love due to his dysfunctional family and difficult past. Also, his business is struggling and he doesn’t have the time or the resources to be in a committed relationship. So things go well until Katie begins to fall for him and he has to leave to real life with a business nearing bankruptcy and his draining and annoying family. Will they be able to make it work? They have a difficult road ahead of them and life has a couple of surprises in store.

Redwood Bend is the 18th book in the Virgin River series, the 18th! At this point in any other series I would be ready to quit, but Ms. Carr has managed to keep it fresh by adding new characters that in no way relate to the original books, thus infusing it with new blood, and making it possible for new readers to jump right in without having to go back and read the rest of the book. I think reading the previous book helps, but these new trilogies stand alone quite well and everyone should be able to enjoy them.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved the hero, it’s one of the best she’s written, I think his life experiences clearly shaped the man he was today and it was obvious that he was a responsible, honest and hardworking guy. Yes, he suffers from the same commitment phobia that ails most romance heroes, but he makes up for it by being so mature in the other aspects of his life. His business is hurting, victim of the economy, and Ms. Carr doesn’t sugarcoat it. There are no miraculous cures for this and he is thinking about sacrifice and how to deal with the hard times throughout the whole book.  

The heroine was a good person, a devoted mother but not a perfect one. Her kids were a handful and she was able to acknowledge that, as much as she loved them, they could be too much to handle at times. That’s pretty much the only thing I liked about her, though, and she is the reason why I have mixed feelings about the book. I’m tired of heroines embarking on relationships they can’t handle. Why have a no-strings-attached affair with someone who’s leaving in days, when all you want is a husband!? Two answers to that: 1. You don’t know yourself well enough to know what you want, and are unable to make intelligent decisions; or 2. You’re an idiot. Actually, there’s a third answer that applies to this heroine, 3. No self-awareness whatsoever and complete idiocy. But wait, this isn’t the most infuriating thing about her, nope, up until that point I was happy enough to let this pass, however, when I got to the next part I was ready to DNF the book. This is a spoiler so look away if you don’t want to know: SPOILER she gets pregnant (surprise!) and she doesn’t tell the hero. He leaves before she finds out, because that was his plan all along, he was temporarily in Virgin River, he had to go back home -hence the no-strings-attached sex with the expiration date-. She knew it and still was hurt when he left, she felt abandoned, and when she finds about the pregnancy she decides to not tell him. Why? Go read the “idiot” part I mentioned before to get the answer. This is the same woman who lost his husband before he got to know his sons, the same woman who wishes her sons had a father. But now that she actually has a baby daddy, she won’t tell him?! Book meet wall. He wasn’t a bad guy, she had no excuse not to tell him. Maybe he didn’t want a baby, but at least give him the news so he can decide for himself if he wants to be a dad or not. This angered me so much that afterwards the book was lost to me. END OF SPOILER

So there you have it. Loved the hero, loved revisiting the town, hated the heroine. The only reason I’m giving the book a 2.5 is because the hero was awesome. If you’re a fan of the series this is a must read, I know I would read it even after knowing that I wouldn’t like the heroine. If you’re not a fan of the series and want to give it a try, this is not the right book to start with.

Review by Brie
Grade: 2.5
Sensuality: McSexy

Synopsis:

Katie Malone and her twin boys' trip along the beautiful mountain roads to Virgin River is stopped short by a tire as flat as her failed romance. To make matters worse, the rain has set in, the boys are hungry and Katie is having trouble putting on a spare. As she stands at the side of the road pondering her next move, she hears a distinct rumble. The sight of the sexy, leather-clad bikers who pull up beside her puts her imagination into overdrive. 

Dylan Childress and his buddies are on the motorcycle trip of a lifetime. But the sight of a woman in distress stops them in their tracks. And while the guys are checking out her car, she and Dylan are checking out one another. 

In one brief moment, the world tilts on its axis and any previous plans Katie and Dylan might have had for their futures are left at the side of the road.

Mira. February 28, 2012.

13 comments:

  1. I admit..I had to read the Spoiler lol.
    I'm wondering...is this also the end of the book (the spoiler situation I mean) or was it just the end for you :-)
    Thanks for the review!
    _yay_
    BookthatThing!

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    1. Oops! It happens around 75% into the book, sorry I didn't make it clearer. Then they have to deal with it before they get their HEA. It almost was the end for me, but I did read the whole thing.

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  2. Ohhhhh noooooo. I am a huge Robyn Carr fan, but this doesn't sound like something I will enjoy. And, yes I cheated, read your spoiler (I can't NOT read a spoiler). I hate those kind of romances. I don't want unplanned babies in my romance at all. Yeck.

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    1. LOL Jen! I’m the same as you, I can’t see the spoiler alert without feeling the compulsion to read it. It’s like I have Spoiler bloodlust! If you don’t like that particular trope then this book might not be for you, however, since you’re a fan, perhaps you should give it a try, just to see how it goes…

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  3. I read the spoiler...that would drive me up the wall too. And now I have a very bad opinion of the heroine but the hero still sounds dreamy. I finally read the first in this series and it was enjoyable. Big fan of Jack.

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    1. The hero is awesome! And yay you finally read the first book! If you like Jack you will be happy to know that he plays important roles in the books to come and makes appearances in almost every Virgin River book. I love him (Mel, not so much...)!

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  4. I haven't read anything by this author but I've been wanting to read more romances so I might have to check out some of her earlier (in the series) books. As far as this one, ugh, some heroines are just not with it. Don't sign on for more than you can handle, ladies! :/ But Dylan sounds awesome!

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    1. EXACTLY! LOL. Start with book 1, that's a safe bet, the first three books are very good.

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  5. Okay, first I have to ask, A Summer in Sonoma is one of your favorite by Ms Carr? Really? LOL, Brie, I think you and me really have different tastes LOL. Although we seem to agree on details :)

    I do agree with you that Ms Carr doesn't sugarcoat the difficulty and economy and stuff... but I don't know, at the end, it always works out and sometimes, you wonder. You read about some characters who are really poor... and yet, they go on as if it was nothing. I attribute it to the area... but for me, a city girl, it's really weird :)

    Okay, so Dylan was nice and I liked the fact he was considering "sacrificing" himself for the business. Like you, I didn't like the twist and I thought the way Katie handled was idiotic.

    What did you think of the bear thing? I was like, really?!?

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    1. You didn’t like A Summer in Sonoma? LOL! We do have somewhat different tastes, I’ve noticed that, but I like it, you keep me guessing! That was my first Robyn Carr book so that’s probably why it’s so special to me.

      I do agree with you that Ms Carr doesn't sugarcoat the difficulty and economy and stuff... but I don't know, at the end, it always works out and sometimes, you wonder. You read about some characters who are really poor... and yet, they go on as if it was nothing. I attribute it to the area... but for me, a city girl, it's really weird :)

      That’s because Virgin River is filled with mighty penises that somehow make it all work! They are like magic wands for adults. They make bad boys settle down and city girls feel at home in godforsaken mini towns with just the one street, bar, church and no supermarket or anything else.

      The bear! I knew I was being too nice when I gave the book a 2.5… Let’s not talk about the bear, please.

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  6. Ohhhh, yeah, first book by an author is always special :) I don't know, I guess some of the stuff in A Summer in Sonoma just rubbed me the wrong way!

    LOL about the mighty penises. I know that in that kind of environment, you go back to basis... but seriously ^_^;

    And LOL, yes, let's not talk about the bear then.

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  7. Robyn Carr is an auto buy for me. I just love this Virgin River sereis.. I loved the twins in the book.. I have twin neice an nephew and I could relate to the twins in the book.. What one does not get into, especially at age five, the other will... I love how Katie put her children first before her love for antoher man... Kudos to Robyn for another graet VR book..

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    1. Hi Kathleen!

      The twins were my favorite part of the book. They were realistic and normal, usually kids in romance novels behave like tiny adults, so it was great to see a couple of little kids being actual little kids.

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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.