My Kind of Christmas
By Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
October 23, 2012
Angela LaCroix has been the perfect student, single-minded in her pursuit of academic excellence as a medical student. All that changes when she survives a life-threatening automobile accident. She loves her family, but as the cherished, oldest Sheridan grandchild, she feels stifled by their concern since the accident, especially her mother’s conviction that what Angie needs is to return to med school now that recovery and rehab are behind her. Newly aware of the tenuousness of life and, to her parents’ dismay, uncertain if her future lies in medicine after all, she plans to spend some time in Virgin River, in the cabin where her Aunt Mel lived before she married Angie’s Uncle Jack Sheridan. Angie’s looking forward to spending time with Mel and Jack and her Aunt Brie, to whom she’s always been especially close, but what she most wants is space and time alone to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life. The day after Thanksgiving she arrives in Virgin River.
Patrick Riordan, the youngest of the five Riordan boys, has always been the gentlest, the most stable of the brothers. A Navy pilot, he’s been on track with his life, confident of his future in the Navy. All that changes when he survives a fire fight in Afghanistan that takes the life of his best friend, who left behind a wife and young son for whom Patrick now feels responsible. The Navy has given him six weeks leave to get his head together, but he’s questioning whether he wants to remain in the Navy. He chose to spend his leave at his brother Aiden’s cabin in Virgin River because his brothers are nearby, but he’s skipping the family’s Christmas gathering in San Diego for some solitude in which to reassess his life.
When Angie and Patrick meet in Jack’s Bar, the chemistry is strong and immediate. But Patrick is conscious of the decade’s difference in their ages, and Angie’s Uncle Jack and, to a lesser degree, her Uncle Mike think an older Navy pilot with troubles of his own is not the man their young niece needs in her life. Also, Patrick is convinced that marriage to his friend’s widow is the only way he can keep his promise to his buddy to care for Marie and their toddler son should anything happen to him. Angie’s thinking of ways she can make her life count through service to others. Neither of them is ready for commitment. But they like spending time together, and as the intimacy between them, physical and emotional, grows, they fall for each other heart over head. Angie is wise enough to know what they share is a rare gift, but will stubborn Patrick realize just what he stands to lose if he ignores what his heart is telling him?
My Kind of Christmas is the twentieth book in Carr’s Virgin River series, and her fourth Christmas story set there, and yet each visit to the town offers something new along with the chance to revisit old friends. Angie and Patrick are endearing, engaging characters who deserve a happy ending, and their pairing unites Virgin River’s most beloved families, the Sheridans and the Riordans. Of all the small-town series that fill bookshelves these days, Virgin River remains my favorite. This is a heartwarming addition, one filled with funny moments and teary moments. The lighting of the community Christmas tree again is a stirring occasion.
If you are a Virgin River fan, you’ll welcome this addition to a cherished, long-running series. If you are an off-and-on follower of the series, this is a sweet and sexy addition that you won’t want to miss. If you’ve never been to Virgin River, Christmas 2012 is a great time for your first visit. I loved Angie and Patrick, and I’m already wondering what 2013 holds for Virgin River and its people.
The Virgin River Christmas tree has become a tradition I enjoy vicariously each year along with my own rituals of the season. What are your favorite holiday traditions?