Nothing brings me more hope, more excitement, more anticipation for a romance novel than....
....finding out the hero has a beard!!!! Hallelujah!
So, imagine my everlasting surprise and happiness when I discovered that the hero for Robyn Carr's A Virgin River Christmas has a beard. And not just any ol' beard, but a full-on, hard-core, lumber jack-style beard. And....it's red!
(Please take a moment of silence to process this wonderful ditty).
In spite of the fact that I don't love contemporary romance, I am loving this series. The characters are wonderful, the love stories incredibly satisfying, and the setting is rugged, natural, earthy....it's a great combination. This book was freaking fantastic! I didn't think Carr could create a better hero than Preacher, but I absolutely adore Ian! He roars like a wounded wild animal, and then gently, quietly feeds a deer from his hand. Swooning here, people. Swooning!
Ian and Marcie's story is perfectly done....their love unfolds slowly and believably as they bond in his tiny cabin. It is wonderful to see how Marcie helps to pull him out of his isolation and introduces him to the world again. Their love is healing, powerful and transforming. The scene at the end of the book when Ian sings in front of the memorial Christmas tree is astounding. One of the best scenes I've ever read. Robyn Carr is a true master of romance.
Grade: A+++++++ (can you tell I liked this one? hee hee.....)
Now, onto a totally different book, The Blue Viking by Sandra Hill. I needed some humor, so I turned to Sandra Hill. Well, I got the humor (Bolthor's poems continue to entertain), but I also got a touching love story. And a nice, lusty one, too. I am totally digging this author. She has an amazing way of blending humor, emotional depth of character, plot and conflict, and lusty loving. If I had a crystal ball, I would predict......more Vikings in my future. Oh yeah!
(My only beef with The Blue Viking was that it started out a little bit slowly. But I'm sure glad I stuck with it!).
Finally, a real Christmas treat. Linda Banche's Mistletoe Everywhere is an adorable, sweet and satisfying holiday story. I am not a big fan of "The Big Misunderstanding" in romance novels. However, this short story managed to keep me racing through the pages to find out how the hero and heroine would finally thwart the evil aunt's interference and rekindle their lost love. This story is well-written, whimsical and has a lovely and satisfying ending (although I wish their reconciliation had been a tad longer). And best of all, the heroine's name is....Penelope! This is the perfect holiday story....time for tree-trimming, eggnog and maybe a sprig of mistletoe or two!
Happy Reading To All,