Virgin River // I Liked It… But Couldn’t Help But Compare to the Show

28 January 2020

Published: 19th December 2019 (UK Reissue)
Source: Publisher
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
A Netflix Original Series!

Welcome back to Virgin River with the book that started it all…

Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.

When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving—the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she’s made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.

But a tiny baby abandoned on a front porch changes her plans…and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.
I am not going to lie, this wasn't a favourite and I'd seen the show before reading the first book in this series and couldn't help but compare the two. I didn't hate it, though, and did end up finishing it quite quickly because I was invested in Jack and Mel and their relationship... but I've read better. This is not a new favourite and I think maybe the show worked better for me.

First off, I found at times the description of women and their bodies to be a little uncomfortable. Jack instantly was eyeing Mel up when she was in his bar. She was rain-soaked and not exactly in a chatty mood. I mean, the checking out wasn’t questionable, at a bar folks check each other out. But some of the descriptions used when he saw made him sound a little skeevy.  And then when you see how he views Charmaine, his booty call woman he has in Clear River, and then I began to dislike him. She's referred to as older and a little past it and he basically says she looks a little trashy and I'm like ‘dude, you're sleeping with her yet you're being a dick about her. She's too good for you’. He did later mention that appearances are deceiving and that she is actually such a good woman but it was so critical. And then Mel looks at a 14-year-old girl and mentions the way she dressed has her thinking she should be on birth control but she'd hardly spoken to her. I guess it made me a little uncomfortable at times. I know we can all get a bit judgemental initially meeting folks but I didn’t like it. Thankfully, my rough start to the book didn’t carry on through. Things got better and Jack grew on me. But Mel and Jack are not my favourite couple ever. If the show is to be believed, I do want to read Preacher’s romance as that sounds interesting.

Then there was the fact Mel fell so easily pregnant when it was mentioned she struggled with her husband. It just didn't feel believable. It was a convenient ending that was nice but did have me rolling my eyes.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I liked the differences to the show. Jack was more likeable in that he split with Charmaine before growing close to Mel. I know I said he felt a bit skeevy eyeing up Mel as soon as he met her, but I also found that he was more respectable. he didn’t emotionally cheat on his girlfriend and he wasn’t messing her about. He was honest with what he wanted and when it seemed like he could have feelings elsewhere he did something about it.  And Doc was easier to like in his grumpy ways in this book. You get to know him and although he’s a curmudgeon, he was nice from the very start. I did miss the relationship between Doc and Hope in the book, though. That added a nice dynamic between the two and explained Hope’s motives way better. We hardly got to see her in the books.

Look, it’s a mixed bag one with this one. I did enjoy it and I’ll probably continue reading more of the books… but the show definitely ironed out a couple of things… but then the book did other things better. It was alright, and I read the whole thing and did enjoy myself so that’s the main thing. But the TV series? It was just kind of bingeable and maybe not the most ground-breaking show, but you know those shoes you end up curling up watching in your PJs? This is one of them. I suppose the books are the same, they aren’t groundbreaking but you end up curling up in your PJs and speeding right on through to the end and you’re always left happy by the end.

Have you read this? Tell me your thoughts if I should continue the series. And what was the last book you read where the TV/movie adaptation was better?
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