“John “Preacher” Middleton is closing Jack’s Bar when a woman and her young son come in out of the wet night. A marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one – the woman is covered in bruises. He wants to protect hem, and to punish whoever did this, but he knows immediately that this is more than just instinct. Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in this gentle giant of a man – emotions that he has never allowed himself to feel. Then Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River. And if there’s one thing that marines’ motto of Semper Fidelis – always faithful – has taught Preacher, it’s that some things are worth fighting for.”
-Synopsis from back of the book
*light spoilers below*
Shelter Mountain is book two in the Virgin River series. I decided to read this series while watching the Netflix show, and quickly discovered after reading the first book that the two are actually quite different. They are both great in their own way, and I have started to really enjoy the series separately from the show.
Shelter Mountain focuses on several characters, two of which are Paige and Preacher. Their storyline is quite different from the one depicted in the show. I think that Preacher’s character is the most different from the show, and it was interesting to see him portrayed in the book. I liked both he and Paige immediately. Paige’s background of domestic abuse was difficult to read at times, and it was much more prominent in the book than it was in the show.
Preacher’s natural instincts to take care of people kick in when he first meets Paige, but he soon finds himself falling for her as well. Paige is reluctant to stay in Virgin River because she doesn’t want to take advantage of the kindness everyone has offered her and her son, especially Preacher. Everyone in Virgin River welcomes her with open arms and assures her they just want to make sure she’s safe and has medical care before she potentially decides to leave.
I thought that this short exchange between Mel and Paige summed it up perfectly:
“…you have no idea what a piece of luck it is that you stumbled into Virgin River. This place doesn’t have so much by way of technology or shopping, but you won’t find a town with more heart.” She smiled. “Or better food.”
“I don’t want to burden my problems on this little town,” she said miserably.
“Well,” Mel said, gently touching her hand, “you would hardly be the first.”from Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr
The other characters the book focuses on the most are Rick and Liz, a young teenage couple who we saw in the previous book. I really don’t want to reveal too much about what happens with them, but I will say that each of their characters grow so much during the course of this book. They had what I think was one of the toughest storylines to read and one of the saddest.
A lot of the tense moments in this book were equal parts emotional and uplifting. It’s definitely a bit of a roller coaster of a read, but with the story and setting being so immersive, I was hooked. The ending had me on the edge of my seat, and left plenty of open endings for me to contemplate what will happen in future books.
I’m looking forward to reading book three, Whispering Rock, later this summer.