Welcome to Grace Valley, California - where blood runs thicker…ties are stronger…and love is all the more sweet. Visitors to the town often remark about the valley's peace and beauty - both of which are plentiful. Unlocked doors, front porches, pies cooling in the windows - this is country life at its finest. But visitors don't always see what lies at the heart of a community. Or just beyond.… June Hudson grew up in Grace Valley, the daughter of the town doctor. Leaving only to get her medical training, she returned home and followed in her father's footsteps. Some might say she chose the easy, comfortable route…but June knows better. For June, her emergency room is wherever she's needed - or wherever a patient finds her. She is always on call, her work is her life and these people are her extended family. Which is a good thing, since this is a town where you should have picked your husband in the ninth grade. Grace Valley is not exactly the place to meet eligible men - until an undercover DEA agent suddenly starts appearing at all sorts of strange hours. Everybody has secrets down in the valley. Now June has one of her own.
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And by "marriage made in heaven", I'm not talking about anything that happens in the story, I'm talking about the audio marriage between Robyn Carr and Therese Plummer. Sometimes, they get it so right, and this is one of those times. I like Therese Plummer no matter what she reads, but I will always associate her with Robyn Carr's books, because when she reads them, it's as close to a perfect audio experience as it gets.
I approached this book as a dedicated Virgin River fan. I have listened to every single Virgin River book on Audible, and I get sucked right in to each and every one. While some were, admittedly, better than others, I can't think of a single one I didn't like. The town of Grace Valley is mentioned often in the VR books, as were some of the characters, and I was looking forward to visiting there myself.
That's what you do in a Robyn Carr book. You visit the places. You meet the people. You become invested in their lives. Her books are extremely character driven. In Deep in the Valley, you meet many of the Grace Valley residents, for better or worse, warts and all. They are a eclectic bunch of small town characters, and that is what Carr does best.
For those who've read the VR series, as I have, she keeps to her style of flashing back and forth between characters and sub plots. As usual, she sucks you right into the goings on and takes you along for the ride. This story's main character is Dr. June Hudson. As the book begins, she is welcoming Dr. Stone to town. He seems a good family man and the perfect fit for Grace Valley's medical needs, but is he? Then there's the mountain family led by a PTSD suffering father and hideously scarred mother, the town's drunken wife beater and his battered family, the lascivious Presbyterian minister and his jealous wife, the Native American sheriff, the old "no nonsense" judge, June's aging father and her eccentric novelist aunt, her chain smoking nurse and her goth receptionist. The list of characters is a mile long. I've only brushed the surface here.
Oh, and then there's the hero. A bit of an afterthought really. Which is why I rated this book 4 stars instead of 5. In a ten and a half hour book, I'd be surprised if an hour of it had anything to do with the central romance. Perhaps, as a trilogy, Carr decided to focus on building the setting and getting us all acquainted with the characters in this book. Still, this book was billed as a romance, and there's a certain expectation of that based on the VR books, but this book is barely a romance. While it didn't really take away from my enjoyment of the book itself, I felt almost cheated in hindsight. I can't complain much, since I loved the book, but I couldn't quite rate it a 5 star either.
One other minor problem was the huge (and I mean huge) number of characters. I would advise readers to grab a notebook and jot down names and relevant information from the start, because otherwise, the book can become very confusing. I've read other reviews on Goodreads from people who read it in print who felt the same. The sheer number of different characters gets a bit overwhelming rather quickly, and you start trying to sort out who is who.
Would I recommend this book? You bet I would. My small criticisms aside, it's a wonderful novel. Find a time to listen when you're not likely to be disturbed, because you won't ever want to hit the pause button.
- Robbie "I spin my own wool and knit. Listening to audiobooks while I craft is one of my favorite things. I'm hooked."
Great Story, Great Narrator!
If you like a little "warm & fuzzy" in your books then you will love this!
Robyn Carr never disappoints!! I love the story, love the narrator and just wish there was more. Hope the other 2 books in the trilogy are released in audiobook soon. If you've listened to Virgin River, this book will make you want want to check in on Mel & Jack. Therese Plummer is amazing, I will buy any book she narrates!