I should rename the title of this post. *shrugs* But, I'm sure you all know right from the get go that this is less of a review and more of a rant. So, I finished reading Temptation Ridge (Robyn Carr), the sixth book in the Virgin River series, earlier this week. Those of you who follow my status updates on GoodReads will have a fair idea what I thought of this book.... but since I have a hard time keeping quiet... *grin*
So, where to start? Certain things still work well with this series - I love the small town feel, the connections between the various characters. What isn't working for me is the the 'collecting'. In a way, JR Ward does the same thing...characters appear that are just what the 'collective' ('You Will Be Assimilated' [sorry, had to be said *grin*]) needs. For example, this book sees the introduction of not only a character who renovates cabins for rent (thus providing tourists with local accommodation) but also a character who becomes the new family physician (he is also a trained paediatrician, which will come in very handy [see below]) for the town....lucky coincidence, huh? And I know for a fact that an OB GYN will be making an appearance in a forthcoming book. Actually, it is slightly disconcerting how many of the characters have careers related to women's health and children... But onward and upward...err....
Early in the book I read this stunning paragraph:
...Shelby had been thinking, I want to join the ranks of women my age, women who are my friends, both old and new, and have what they have - the relationship building, romantic and physical love, idealism and passion and even the struggles. She wanted all of it. She was due. She wanted to be whole. She wanted a man.(And those italics were of the author's inclusion, not mine.) Those of you who are thinking of getting your eyes tested need not. You did indeed read what you just read. The heroine of Temptation Ridge (Shelby) wants to be whole...and to be whole she needs a man. I wondered what my problem was.../sarcasm. Which leads me nicely into the main theme of the book, a theme that seems to be the be all and end all for every character - marriage and children. And when I say every character I mean the men too - they hold birthing parties for goodness sake! Now, don't get me wrong, marriage and children isn't a bad thing. And I don't have a problem with happy families either (I'm just not quite sure what one is). But...families come in all different shapes and sizes, some with children, some without, some heterosexual, some homosexual, some related by blood and some by love. Yes the author is writing a heterosexual contemporary romance, but...once the characters fall in love does marriage plus children have to appear over the horizon like a tropical storm? For everyone? And in case you think I'm exaggerating, I've been reliably informed that Shelby (the heroine) falls pregnant straight away (not quite sure where that leaves her college plans) and, directly after giving birth discusses additions to the family. *heads desk* (And the pregnancy rate for previous heroines? 60% [And I'm not counting the heroine of the previous book who gave birth to her first child and then fell in love with the hero.]) Now, I'll admit, I haven't had children, so I could be completely wrong...but IIRC friends who have given birth have informed me that the last thing new mothers want to talk about straight after labour is having more babies! (To be fair, said friends did say that they started forgetting how bad the labour was as time progressed - probably nature's way of attempting to ensure women have more than one child :) But still!!! Would it hurt for the author to include a couple that might want to wait to have a child...or not want to have a child? *shock horror* And what about a couple who can't have a child...nope, had that with the heroine of the first book (Virgin River) and she had a miracle pregnancy...two actually.
The difference between the current (and previous) heroine(s) and 'other female characters' is quite...obvious:
OK. I think I can spot the difference. *rolls eyes* Oh, and before I forget - this heroine is small! And just in case I forgot that detail I was provided with numerous reminders - four in the first love scene - with the hero commenting twice that the heroine could only weigh 110 pounds. (I looked that up - that's only 50 kg!) I get it, she's tiny. Enough already! And then there is the 'I've fallen in love' moment. More and more I want to get inside a character's head and understand why they fall in love...what draws them to the other person. And more and more that doesn't seem to happen. Don't tell me you're in love....tell me why!
He'd get into her without falling in love when she was a young women clearly designed for true love, for permanence.
Some good, old-fashioned, all-American, slutty girls, hanging out in the bar and buying drinks for straight men...They had high, perky boobs and fluffy hair. In spite of himself, he briefly considered how much sexier Shelby was in her jeans and boots, her white shirts with rolled-up sleeves and fresh face, leaving everything to the imagination.
I could go on (and on :) about how darn nice every character is, how beautiful all the women in the town are and how everyone seems to love having numerous (and frank) discussions about sex and women's health. But, I'm sure my ranting has gone on long enough. This book, this series, is pure sugar. (Dentists everywhere will run screaming.) And you'd think, with all these issues, it would be easy to walk away. And part of me does want to give up on the series entirely...but part of me wants to know what happens with certain characters. *SIGH*
So, do you have a series you should probably walk away from, but you just can't give up?